PROJECT PROGRESSING: Glencore is looking forward to realising its Valeria Coal Project.
PROJECT PROGRESSING: Glencore is looking forward to realising its Valeria Coal Project.

Explained: Status of 7 major Bowen Basin mines

WITH almost a million Australians unemployed during the current financial crisis, one MP says fast tracking approvals of new Queensland mines could be the key to solving the jobs shortage.

Mirani MP Stephen Andrew said new mining projects would provide large-scale job creation in Australia and now was the best time to take advantage of our best performing industries.

"That kind of large scale job creation is exactly what we need and we are very fortunate, in Queensland, to have the means to do it," Mr Andrew said.

"This is urgent. The government has to authorise these new mines. And it has to do it soon."

Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said $20 billion had been invested in resources projects, creating 7000 jobs, under the Palaszczuk Government.

"From coal projects like Olive Downs and Winchester South to Glencore's Valeria mine near Capella, Queensland continues to produce the finest metallurgical coal in the world, which is vital to steelmakers in Japan and South Korea, two of our key trading partners," Mr Dick said.

The Valeria Project would involve an open cut coal mine producing metallurgical and thermal coal about 27km northwest of Emerald.
The Valeria Project would involve an open cut coal mine producing metallurgical and thermal coal about 27km northwest of Emerald.

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Two new mine developments to employ up to 50 staff

EXPLAINED: Future of nine major new mines

New mine promising 1000 jobs

Over the past two years, several proposed mines have moved a step closer to becoming a reality, while others appear to be on hold for the time being.

Where seven major Bowen Basin mines are at now:

Winchester South

Whitehaven Coal's $1 billion Winchester South mine reached a major milestone last year, with the release of draft terms of reference for the project's environmental impact statement by Queensland's independent Co-ordinator-General.

In an update to investors on Tuesday, the company said it was cautious about allocating capital to new projects because of subdued coal markets.

Whitehaven does not expect to consider making a final investment decision on Winchester South this year.

However, the proposed metallurgical open cut mine is continuing to progress through the Queensland Government's major project development process.

Studies to support drafting of the EIS have been progressed.

Olive Downs

The Federal Government gave the green light on Pembroke Resources' Olive Downs metallurgical coal mine project in May.

The environmental approval of the mine, 40 kilometres south east of Moranbah, came with several conditions - including a $1 million contribution towards improving long-term conservation of koalas and greater gliders in the Bowen Basin.

The 25,000-hectare mine is expected to create up to 700 jobs during the construction phase and 1000 jobs at full production.

A map showing the location of the proposed Olive Downs coal mine.
A map showing the location of the proposed Olive Downs coal mine.

Valeria

Queensland's independent Co-ordinator-General declared Valeria coal mine a co-ordinated project last month.

Production at the $1.5 billion Capella mine could start as early as 2026, if it is approved.

It is expected to support up to 1400 construction jobs and 950 full-time operational jobs over a 35-year lifespan.

Broadmeadow East

Bowen Coking Coal reached an agreement last month to acquire Peabody's Broadmeadow East coal project near Moranbah.

The company will acquire the undeveloped mine for $1 million, plus up to $1.5 million in royalties.

Bowen Coking Coal director Nick Jorss expected the project to be operational within 18 months and create between 180 and 200 new ongoing jobs.

The company has set a target for the mine to produce at least one million tonnes of metallurgical coal per annum.

Bowen Coking Coal director Nick Jorss. Picture: Annette Dew
Bowen Coking Coal director Nick Jorss. Picture: Annette Dew

Eagle Downs

A decision on whether to progress construction on this new underground mine near Moranbah will be made by the end of the year.

The joint venture between South32 and Aquila Resources involves construction of a multi-seam underground longwall metallurgical coal mine and processing plant with a dedicated rail spur and train loadout facility.

Eagle Downs is expected to deliver 500 new jobs if it goes ahead.

Resource quality drilling has been completed at the site ahead of the key investment decision later this year.

Byerwen Mine

This Bowen Basin mine has ramped up its operation to reach full production, less than a year after its official opening.

QCoal Group managing director Christopher Wallin last month confirmed the expansion of Byerwen Coal Mine - a joint venture ­between Queensland-based QCoal and Japanese company JFE Steel.

The $1.76 billion project exported its first metallurgical coal to the Fukuyama steel works in Japan in January last year.

OPEN: Byerwen mine site in the Bowen Basin
OPEN: Byerwen mine site in the Bowen Basin

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Red Hill

The Red Hill project was granted Commonwealth approval, pending conditions, in 2015.

Proposed by BMA, the development involves a new underground coking coal mine (Red Hill Mine) and the expansion of two existing coking coal mines, Broadmeadow and Goonyella Riverside.

Just north of Moranbah in the Isaac region, government documents show the expansion and development would support 2000 (construction) and 1500 (operational) jobs.

But a spokesman for BMA said there were currently no immediate plans for the project.



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