Two major fossil fuel developments went back to the drawing board after proponents failed to act in a timely manner.
The Australian Department of the Environment recently rejected MacMines Austasia’s $6.7B China Stone Coal Project (300km west of Mackay) and Stanmore Resources’ Range Coal Project (44km northwest of Miles).
Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek blamed MacMines for taking four years to respond to potential impacts on threatened species and water resources. Plibersek also slammed Stanmore for taking 10 years to do the same.
“I will have zero tolerance for businesses who refuse to provide adequate information about the impact their projects will have on nature. If companies are not willing to show how they will protect nature then I am willing to cancel their projects – and that is exactly what I have done,” she said according to the Australian Associated Press.
MacMines previously planned to build open-cut and underground coal mines, a coal handling and preparation plant, tailings, water storage facilities, an airstrip, accommodation village and power station. The project was hoped to create 3900 construction jobs and 3400 positions once operational.
Stanmore wanted to construct three open-pit mines with a capacity of up to 55M tonnes per annum. A new Surat Basin railway was also proposed to link the project to the Port of Gladstone. The development could have created more than 2000 jobs.
The rejection means each proponent must reapply for federal environmental approval.
“Stanmore’s intention is to maintain the asset, including its tenure, and preserve our optionality going forward. We will continue to assess our options for the Range and seek to engage with Queensland and Commonwealth authorities to further progress the project,” CEO Marcelo Matos said in a public statement.
“Stanmore will … remain open to resubmitting the Range project to the Commonwealth Government for assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act at the appropriate time to progress the project.”