JFE Steel Corporation said today it had agreed with QCoal to commence construction work on the $1.7 billion Byerwen coal project, near Glenden in the Bowen Basin.
The agreement came after the Queensland State Government last month granted mining leases to the joint venture to develop two tenements in the project.
Early stage development will be carried out with the aim to begin shipping coal in early 2018.
Queensland Natural Resources and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said the project would generate 350 construction jobs at peak, followed by up to 545 ongoing jobs.
“It’s particularly good news for locals, as the proponent has previously committed to hiring from Glenden, Nebo, Moranbah and Collinsville and across the wider region,” Dr Lynham said.
Macmahon Holdings was last month named as the preferred mining contractor for the establishment and operation of the mine.
The proposed Byerwen mine is forecast to yield up to 10 million tonnes of high-quality coking coal and thermal coal annually, to be railed to Abbot Point Coal Terminal for export.
QCoal said yesterday that while it welcomed the grant of new Mining Leases (ML 70434 and 70436) by the Queensland Government, the term and conditions of the leases were not what was originally applied for.
Project scale and ramp-up were being reviewed accordingly, the company said.
“Our team has been working hard over the last few years to reach this milestone and will now start executing plans to enable the next phase of construction for mining operations to commence at
Byerwen as quickly as possible,” QCoal managing director Chris Wallin said.
QCoal Group said it would work closely with all contractors and stakeholders to ensure employment and procurement strategies maximised opportunities locally and regionally.
More information will become available once contracts have been confirmed and opportunities identified.
Initial civil works and construction of a rail loop have already been completed.
QRC deputy chief executive Judy Bertram described the Byerwen announcement as a huge shot in the arm for the central Queensland economy.
“This is a big dose of export growth for Queensland’s premium coking coal, which is why Japan’s JFE Steel is investing in the project. This mine will also be a significant economic contributor to local communities and the wider Queensland economy,” she said.
QRC data shows that in 2015-16, the Queensland coal industry’s total contribution of $32.7 billion supported more than 180,000 jobs. The coal industry spent $11.3 billion in Queensland on more than 10,700 local businesses and almost 500 community organisations.
At last week’s spot prices of $US224 US, at full production, this project alone would generate more than $450 million dollars extra a year in royalties for the Queensland Government, Ms Bertram said.