The proposed $300 million Colton coal mine near Maryborough has passed a hurdle with Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham today announcing approval of three mining leases for the project.
New Hope Group managing director Shane Stephan welcomed the approval but said a future investment decision still needed to be made.
“We are now in a position to study options around development timing and methodology with a view to obtaining final investment approval from the Board,” he said.
Dr Lynham said New Hope had the major approvals (ML50273, ML50274, ML50280) it required to move ahead with this project and create up to 120 direct full-time construction jobs and up to 120 ongoing production jobs for the Fraser Coast region.
“Importantly, that workforce will be sourced locally and the project will provide business opportunities and inject revenue into the local economy from locally-purchased goods and services,” he said.
“The project has been through a rigorous assessment process, including public objections and Land Court hearings.
“The mine has strict conditions governing water releases to protect the Mary River catchment, and to limit noise and dust.”
The mine is expected to produce half a million tonnes of high grade coking coal per year, to be transported 270km by rail to Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal at Gladstone.
The project will include a coal handling and preparation plant, workshops, offices, a haul road and have a production life of eight to 10 year.
Dr Lynham said New Hope had to meet strict environmental, financial and technical capability and public interest requirements, and address native title issues with traditional owners, to be granted its leases.
“The company now has to provide a plan of operations and financial assurance to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection for work to start on site,” he said.
New Hope already operates two open-cut thermal coal mines in south-east Queensland – New Acland, north of Oakey on the Darling Downs, and Jeebropilly near Ipswich – as well as a joint venture, Bengalla, in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley.