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New $1B Bowen Basin mine could produce coal for ‘decades’ says authority

Winchester South coal mine
Winchester South coal mine

A major mining project could deliver for many years to come in Central Queensland’s Isaac region.

The State Government predicted the $1 billion Winchester South Project (31km southeast of Moranbah) and other operations would produce coal for more than 20 years.

“Coal is going to be needed for decades and decades and decades, and we have got the best in the world. Your kids will have jobs in the coal industry for decades to come,” State Resources Minister Scott Stewart said according to News Limited.

“We know that there will be ongoing global demand … and so we continue to support and encourage investment into those industries. We continue to receive applications for new mines and they get considered,” Premier Steven Miles added.

The remarks came ahead of a Queensland Land Court action from the Australian Conservation Foundation and Mackay Conservation Group against the Winchester South development.

“If the Winchester South mine gets the green light it will be digging up coal and polluting until 2055, generating at least 583 million tonnes (Mt) of climate pollution,” general counsel Adam Beeson said in a public statement.

However, the Australian newspaper suggested there was “no good reason” for the project to not proceed as planned. Coal is already produced in the Bowen Basin, Australian coal produces fewer emissions than international competitors, and there were no “reliable alternative” ingredients for steel production.

“There is no good reason why states such as Queensland, which are heavily dependent on mining royalties, should pass up revenue [either],” it said in an editorial article.

At the time of publication Whitehaven Coal only required a mining lease and environmental authority before constructing an open-cut metallurgical coal operation, capable of producing up to 11 Mt of product coal per annum to support steel-making for up to 28 years.

The following infrastructure will also be required:

  • access road from the Eagle Downs Mines Access Road to a mine industrial area (MIA)
  • 132kV electrical transmission line to Powerlink’s existing Eagle Downs substation
  • 13km raw water supply pipeline to the existing Eungella pipeline network
  • train load-out facility including product coal stockpiles
  • 8km rail spur and loop to the Norwich Park Branch Railway
  • onsite 132kV / 22kV electricity switching substation
  • high-speed telecommunications network connections
  • onsite Coal Handling and Preparation Plant
  • explosives storage facilities
  • sewage treatment facilities
  • consumable storage areas
  • potable water supply
  • site communications
  • remote crib huts
  • MIA offices
  • workshops.

Up to 500 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs will be created throughout the three-year construction phase plus a further 500 FTE positions during the 28 year operational phase.

Job vacancies will be advertised here.

The State Department of Environment, Science and Innovation has already recommended granting an environmental authority for the project.

“There are significant local, regional and state benefits to be derived from the project, and … environmental effects can be adequately avoided, minimised, mitigated or offset as required,” department coordinator-general Mike Kaiser previously said in the final evaluation report.

Click here to read the full report.

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