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New $1B Central Qld coal mine approved

Winchester South coal mine
Winchester South coal mine

A resources project received the nod to proceed in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

The Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning recently approved the new Winchester South Coal Mine, 31km southeast of Moranbah.

The decision brings Whitehaven Coal one step closer to constructing an open-cut metallurgical coal operation, capable of producing up to 11 million tonnes of product coal per annum to support steel-making for up to 28 years.

The following infrastructure will 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.

QMEB can reveal the works are worth a combined $1 billion. 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.

“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 said in the final evaluation report.

“Accordingly, I approve the project subject to the stated conditions.”

The proponent revealed the project aligns with its combined US$4.1 billion (A$6.4B) acquisitions of BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s Blackwater (226km west of Rockhampton) and Daunia (170km southwest of Mackay) coal mines.

“Acquired from Rio Tinto in 2018 Winchester South is adjacent to the Daunia metallurgical coal mine, which Whitehaven is acquiring as announced on 18 October 2023. This will provide opportunities for future synergies including potential integration of the operations,” Whitehaven added in a public statement.

The remarks came after Lock the Gate Alliance complained the development would “destroy” a koala habitat and create 500 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. This is feared to worsen climate change, an environmental theory that burning fossil fuels creates carbon emissions that can influence long-term weather patterns.

Click here to read the full report.

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