Isaac mine applies to double in size, employ hundreds
THE proposed expansion of a Dysart coal mine could extend its life by up to 25 years, almost double its size and employ hundreds, if its environmental impact plans are approved.
Public comment will soon be invited on a Bowen Basin Coal Pty Ltd project that would expand current operations at the Lake Vermont Coal Mine, 30km northeast of Dysart.
The 8235ha expansion of the Lake Vermont Meadowbrook Project was flagged by the Department of Environment and Science in a public notice calling for submissions.
The existing mine licence covers 9188ha.
It is estimated 200 people would be employed during the construction phase, and a further 350-400 people would work at the site once the underground mine became active.
The new mining operation would extract an average of 5.5 million tonnes of metallurgical and pulverised coal per annum, over the next 20-25 years.
This would allow the Dysart mine to maintain its production of 12mtpa.
The expansion project would create three open-cut coal pits and an underground longwall coal mine, as well as supporting mining infrastructure, including water and rail infrastructure. Bowen Basin Coal Pty Ltd is comprised of QCMM (Lake Vermont Holdings Pty Ltd) - 70 per cent; Marubeni Coal Pty Ltd; CHR Vermont Pty Ltd; and Coranar (Australia) Pty Ltd (each 10 per cent).
The proposed expansion comes as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland announced the value of coal shipments leaving Australia improved by $200 million in November to $4.7 billion.
Despite a 30 per cent fall in the value of metallurgical coal over the year, chief economist Dr Marcus Smith said activity in Queensland's resources sector remained solid.
Isaac Region Acting Mayor Kelly Vea Vea said the council would support all responsible developments in the region, and would give the draft report full consideration before making a submission.
"Just like any development within the region, we expect this project to be structured in a way that maximises the benefits and opportunities for our local businesses, workers and communities, while minimising the social, environmental and infrastructure impacts," Cr Vea Vea said.
Construction is expected to begin in two years, by the end of 2022, with full underground mine production slated for late 2026.
However, a handful of critically endangered and vulnerable species could stand in the way of the mine's future as the draft terms of reference for their environmental plan opens for public comment.
It submitted a voluntary environmental impact statement to the Department of Environment and Science, which was approved on August 2 last year. The project's draft terms of reference still require approval.
The company's draft report, submitted on December 4, indicted there were 23 animals and plants that could be impacted by the expansion, including the critically endangered curlew sandpiper and the white-throated snapping turtle.
The project would also affect koala and northern quoll populations as well as pigeon and finch species, the report said.
Mackay Conservation Group co-ordinator Peter McCallum said the group would be voicing its concerns about the impact on biodiversity and the sustainability of metallurgical coal.
Mr McCallum said international research into "green steel" could lead to coking coal losing its market as early as 2022.
Public comment on the scheme will open on January 13 and close at 5pm on February 24.
The report is available electronically at public libraries including Mackay Regional Council libraries, Emerald Library, Moranbah Public Library and Dysart Public Library, or by phoning the proponent on (07) 3877 6700, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, or to make a submission visit: https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/pollution/management/eis-process/projects/current-projects/lake-vermont-meadowbrook-project#further-information
Comments can be sent to the department via post or by emailing email@example.com
The Chief Executive
Department of Environment and Science
Attention: The EIS Coordinator - Proposed Lake Vermont Meadowbrook Project
GPO Box 2454
BRISBANE, QLD, 4001