Whitehaven Coal has started a large core drilling program at its $1 billion Winchester South project, 30km south-east of Moranbah.
This will help establish the reserve at the metallurgical coal project and assist in the design of the CHPP and other infrastructure, the company said.
It is expecting the approvals process to take about two years.
Preparation of the EIS, an inaugural JORC reserve and other requirements for that process were underway, Whitehaven Coal managing director and chief executive officer Paul Flynn said in a presentation this week.
The company expects the development of the Winchester South project to cost up to $1 billion in capital expenditure, inclusive of the mining fleet.
It is expected to create 500 jobs during construction and 450 jobs when operating.
The Queensland Government last month announced that Winchester South would be declared a co-ordinated project, streamlining the approvals process.
At full capacity, the mine is targeting run-of-mine production of approximately 15Mtpa of coal.