A NEW $1 billion coal mine in central Queensland has received final approval on the eve of the state election, paving the way for construction to commence.
Olive Downs coal mine, 40km south east of Moranbah on the Bowen Basin, will be Queensland's third largest coal mine and is expected to employ 1000 people.
At its peak, it will produce up to 15 million tonnes of metallurgical coal each year over its 79-year lifespan, which will be transported by rail to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal for export.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Pembroke Resources Olive Downs Coking Coal Project had been granted the necessary mining leases, the last of the major approvals required for the project to start building the mine.
Preparation work for construction can start immediately, with core construction set to commence in 2021, with 500 workers needed to build the mine.
"The resources industry has a long future in Queensland, whether it's metallurgical coal from the Bowen Basin, bauxite from Weipa or rare earth minerals from the North West Minerals Province," Ms Palaszczuk said.
The project is expected to contribute an estimated $8 billion to the local economy and more than $10 billion to Queenslands economy over its lifespan.
Pembroke chairman and CEO Barry Tudor said the mining lease approvals were the final approval hurdle to commence the first stage of the project.
We are extremely pleased to have been granted the mining leases, having consulted extensively with the local community over the past four years, Mr Tudor said.
Olive Downs has already assembled the key elements required to commence construction following the grant of the mining leases, including securing access to power, water, rail and port, even as finance and offtake partners are finalised.
Pembroke is committed to providing workers with an opportunity to live in towns near the mine including Moranbah and Dysart and is building sustainable futures for people in the communities in which Olive Downs operates.
But while Federal Resources, Water and Northern Australia Minister Keith Pitt welcomed the approval, he queried the state government's timing.
Labor continues to show contempt for the resources sector and its certainly no coincidence the decision to approve Olive Downs comes on the eve of a state election," Mr Pitt said.
Regional Queenslanders who work in the resources sector have had years of Labor disparaging the sector and its workers, as well as years of Labor pronouncing the death of coal and death of coal mining jobs.
Labor remains the party that has told miners they will have to re-skill and transition and Queenslanders wont be tricked into believing that Labor has suddenly seen the light on the resources sector."