$6.4 billion Alpha Coal Project given go-ahead
The Newman Government has given the green light to what will be one of Australia’s biggest mines, the $6.4 billion Alpha Coal Project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
Queensland’s Coordinator-General has provided conditional approval for the mine – the first in the untapped coal rich Galilee Basin.
Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney welcomed the decision and said the project would produce significant economic benefits for the state and nation.
“There’ll be an estimated $11 billion boost to the economy during the mine’s three year construction phase. 80 per cent of that will be retained in Queensland,” Mr Seeney said.
“Once operational, Queensland’s economy should see an economic boost of $1 billion per year from this mine alone.
“Australia can expect an $80 billion dollar rise in exports over the life of the mine.”
Mr Seeney said the Coordinator-General had approved the mine with strict conditions and the move was a major step towards opening up the Galilee Basin’s coal deposits.
“The proposal is for a 30 million tonnes per year open-cut coal mine and a 495km railway line from the mine to the Port of Abbot Point near Bowen,” he said.
The project is expected to generate up to 3600 construction jobs and 990 operational jobs.
The mine site is 130km south-west of Clermont and about 360km south-west of Mackay. The expected life of the mine is 30 years, with sufficient resources to potentially extend the project life beyond that time.
Despite the Coordinator-General completing Queensland’s assessment, the Federal Minister for Environment is yet to complete his assessment under Commonwealth environmental legislation.
“The Coordinator-General has thoroughly assessed Hancock Coal’s Environmental Impact Statement and associated materials, including 60 public submissions, and its Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS),” Mr Seeney said.
Coordinator-General Barry Broe said his 393 page report contains 128 conditions.
“Conditions and recommendations in my report will ensure that impacts are well mitigated and managed through environmental management plans, environmental licences, development permits and a social impact management plan,” Mr Broe said.
The mine plan comprises six separate open-cut pits, with a total strike length of 24 km in a north-south direction.
Hancock Coal anticipates the construction period to occur between 2013 and 2016, subject to relevant approvals being granted for the project.
The Coordinator-General’s Report can be viewed at www.projects.industry.qld.gov.au.