China Stone thermal coal mine one more step closer to opening

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A new $6.7 billion mega-mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin is a step closer to opening after gaining approval from the state’s coordinator-general, who released an evaluation of the mine’s environmental impact statement (EIS).

MacMines AustAsia’s 20,000-hectare China Stone thermal coal project is expected to produce 38 million tonnes of coal annually and create thousands of jobs built alongside Adani’s proposed mine in central Queensland.

The $6.7 billion project will contribute about $188 million annually in royalties to the Queensland Government during its first 25 years of operation.

Coordinator-general Barry Broe’s approval of the China Stone Coal Project came with little fanfare this week when he signed off on the project.

In comments obtained by the ABC, a spokesperson for Mr Roe said the project involves the development of a greenfield open-cut and underground thermal coal mine and associated infrastructure, including an airstrip, and accommodation village.

“Once fully operational, the mine will produce up to 38 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum for the export market.”

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said new projects in the Galilee Basin would strengthen the long-term outlook for the industry and provide direct benefits to nearby regions in jobs and royalties.

“That means more high-paying jobs for regional Queenslanders, especially in places like Mackay, Townsville and Rockhampton,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“That’s reality, and we’re seeing mines open not only in the Galilee Basin but right across the Bowen Basin and potentially in the Surat Basin.”

Mr Macfarlane said the China Stone mine’s future would “depend on the approvals process around environmental issues”.

“But certainly within the next four or five years it is possible to see construction starting on this mine,” he said.

The coordinator-general has approved five coal mines and three rail projects in the Galilee Basin. The China Stone Coal project is the sixth Galilee Basin coal project his office has assessed.

China Stone will take five years to construct, 300 kilometres west of Mackay, with Charter Towers and Clermont being the closest townships by road, being just over 250 kilometres away.

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