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New Bowen Basin mine approved with 1500 jobs

ABOUT 1500 jobs are a step closer to reality after the State Government this morning announced the approval of the $1 billion Olives Downs project.

Queensland's independent Coordinator-General has approved the proposed metallurgical coal mine, 40 kilometres south-east of Moranbah in the Bowen Basin.

The approval comes with strict conditions to ensure local employment and manage potential impacts on the environment.

State Development Minister Cameron Dick said the project was expected to create an average of 500 full-time equivalent jobs during construction and 1000 full-time equivalent operational jobs on average over its 79-year life span.

"When the mine is up and running, it could contribute $10 billion to the Queensland economy, including $1 billion in royalties," he said.

"Metallurgical coal produced in the Bowen Basin is in high demand for use in steel production in Asia and the project would produce up to 15 million tonnes of metallurgical coal per year for export via the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal near Mackay."

Mr Dick said that the project maximised the use of existing road, rail, power and water infrastructure in Queensland's most established coal region and would operate alongside 25 existing mines.

"The proposed project includes coal handling and crushing facilities at the mine's Olive Downs South and Willunga precincts, a rail link to transport coal to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal and a water pipeline and power transmission line," he said.

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said this was the first project that had completed a social impact assessment under the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act as part of the environmental impact statement.

"It is also the first time that the Coordinator General has decided to include the construction phase as being captured by the SSRC Act, further adding to local benefits," she said.

"The SSRC Act requires the proponent Pembroke Resources to encourage workers to live in local towns like Moranbah, Nebo, Dysart and Middlemount and reduce the reliance on fly-in, fly-out workers.

"Pembroke has committed to recruiting locals and people from other regions who might like to move to local towns.

"There will also be significant opportunities for local and regional suppliers, contractors, service providers and businesses."

CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland President Stephen Smyth said the project would deliver a massive boost to jobs and confidence in regional mining communities.

"Coal miners in Central Queensland will have a spring in their step today knowing that a major new project is coming on line to deliver jobs and economic benefit to the region," said.

"The Queensland Labor Government should be congratulated for its commitment to delivering investment in major resources projects, while also making sure industry standards are maintained and regional Queensland communities are looked after with local jobs.

"Mining developments should benefit workers and communities, not just multinationals.

"We want to make sure the new coal mining jobs created at Olive Downs are not casual labour hire, but instead permanent jobs with fair pay and entitlements.

"To do that, we need to vote for candidates at this weekend's federal election who will stand up for coal miners' work rights and fight dodgy labour hire."

An Adani Mining spokesperson congratulated Pembroke Resources on the approval but suggested the company hold off on celebrating.

"We are not sure what the Queensland Labor Government is celebrating," she said.

"Under its approvals regime the jobs and investment from this new mine are unlikely to materialise anytime soon.

"Our advice to the Olive Downs team is 'don't get too excited and don't start popping the champagne corks yet, there is a long and twisting road of secondary approvals ahead' as the Premier has made it clear that the "Adani standard" of late-notice reviews, and dragging out bureaucratic processes will be the new norm under her government.

"Our Carmichael Project achieved a similar sign-off in 2014.

"We genuinely hope for Pembroke and regional communities that Olive Downs does not experience the delays, obstruction and system interfere our Carmichael mine has incurred.

"We wish Pembroke the very best in their new endeavour."

Mr Dick said the public was invited to have their say on the draft environmental impact statement for the project between September and October 2018 with 37 submissions received.

The independent Coordinator-General considered all submissions in completing his evaluation of the project.

Subject to Commonwealth Government approval, Pembroke Resources expects to begin construction in 2020.

The evaluation report can be found here.

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