Start-up of Pembroke Resources’ Olive Downs coking coal project in Queensland, Australia, has edged closer after the company confirmed it had received project approvals from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.
The EPBC approvals, together with the grant of the Environmental Authority (EA) by the Queensland Government in 2019, provide a clear pathway to grant of the mining leases and the commencement of construction and creation of over 1,000 new jobs in the region, Pembroke said.
Included in the environmental conditions accepted by Pembroke is a A$1 million ($653,655) contribution to improving long-term conservation of koalas and greater gliders in the Bowen Basin of Queensland, according to Sussan Ley, Australia’s Minister for the Environment.
“The federal and state approvals endorse the company’s intent to deliver strong environmental outcomes,” it said. “The project pathway has also benefited from being a Tier One steelmaking coal project in an established mining basin with access to established infrastructure.”
The federal environmental approvals authorise activities for Olive Downs’ 79-year mine life and provide the conditions for the operation of the mine and the associated infrastructure corridors, including environmental obligations.
Olive Downs has 838 Mt of open-pit JORC resources and 514 Mt of JORC reserves of a globally recognised product like other well-accepted Bowen Basin brands, it said. Pembroke plans to commence site construction following the grant of the mining leases and is forecasting up to 15 Mt/y of saleable coal production over its 79-year mine life.
Back in 2019, CIMIC Group’s Sedgman and CPB Contractors were awarded a contract by Pembroke to design, procure, construct and commission the coal handling and preparation plant at Olive Downs.
Pembroke Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Barry Tudor (pictured), said: “This is an exciting time for the company and the region’s wider community. The EPBC approvals, and the EA, which was granted last year, represent key milestones for the project.
“The next key milestone is securing the grant of the mining leases, which will enable us to commence construction. We anticipate these to be granted in the coming months and look forward to construction and employment commencing shortly after this.”
In addition to employment and its contribution to the local economy, the steelmaking coal project is also expected to generate around A$5.5 billion ($3.6 billion) in royalties for the Queensland Government over the life of the mine.