The Queensland State government said it is considering three new coal mine projects and the development of Australias first coal port in 25 years that would boost the states coal export capacity by 40%.
Two projects recently proposed for approval are Waratah Coals A$5.3 billion ($5.19 billion) Galilee venture, which may produce 25 million mt of thermal coal/year, and BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliances plan to develop new mines at Daunia and Caval Ridge and expand operations at Goonyella Riverside, according to a statement from Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.
BMAs Bowen Basin Growth Project would boost coking coal exports in the area by about 20 million mt/year, Bligh was cited as saying in the statement. Both these major coal mining proposals have been declared significant projects by the Coordinator-General and will now undergo a rigorous environmental assessment process, the statement said.
A coal port is planned to be built near Shoalwater Bay between Rockhampton and Mackay with an export capacity of up to 100 million mt/year, linked to the Galilee Basin by a new 500 km rail line that would open this region to coal exports for the first time, according to the statement.
Defense Force land is being targeted for use so the adjacent Byfield National Park would not be affected, it said. The third proposal the Xstrata Coal-led 30 million mt/year Wandoan open cut mine was declared a significant project in December, the statement said.
The coordinator-general expects to release draft terms of reference for the environmental impact statements for the new proposals by late September and for the Wandoan project shortly, it said.
Waratah Coals Galilee proposal involves a large scale mine in central Queensland, which aims to start exporting coal by 2012 and may expand production to 50 million mt/year. The project may create 2,200 jobs during construction and 760 jobs during operation. Waratah Coal on June 24 announced inferred resources in the Galilee Basin totaled 4.355 billion mt as a result of drilling to date and a further resource target of 675-840 million mt had been identified.