Hundreds of jobs and a regional economic boost are a step closer for Central Queensland with the $90 million Isaac Downs mining project near Moranbah being declared a prescribed project.
Minister for Regional Development Glenn Butcher said the project would provide ongoing long-term employment for workers at the region’s existing Isaac Plains Mining Complex and also create new jobs and economic growth.
“As we implement Queensland’s plan to strengthen our economy in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, projects like this have the potential to play in an important role for regional Queensland,” Mr. Butcher said.
“Pending all necessary approvals and Stanmore Coal’s business plans, project construction could begin as soon as early 2021 with the mine possibly becoming operational in mid-to-late-2021.
“The construction phase of the project is expected to create 250 jobs.
“The project will also provide ongoing long-term employment for workers at the company’s existing Isaac Plains Mining Complex, with 220 workers transferred to the new mine.
“In addition, Stanmore Coal estimates that when operational, the new mine will create an additional 80 new jobs.”
“Project proponent Stanmore Coal estimates the economic contribution generated by Isaac Downs for the region will be $2.5 billion over its anticipated 16-year life.
“A further $457.9 million is expected to be generated in economic contributions for the rest of Queensland.”
Mines Minister Dr. Anthony Lynham said the resources sector was one of Queensland’s traditional economic strengths and was a key element of Queensland’s economic plan for recovery.
“The resources sector has worked closely with government, unions, and health authorities to continue its operations, maintain jobs, while protecting the health and safety of its workforce and the communities they live and work in.
“Ongoing investment in Queensland’s resources sector shows confidence in our resources, our workers, and our economy.”
Mr. Butcher said the prescribed project declaration allows the Coordinator-General to work with Stanmore Coal to ensure all necessary project approvals are obtained in a timely manner.
The metallurgical coal project is located in the Bowen Basin, about 10 kilometres southeast of Moranbah.
Stanmore’s CEO Craig McCabe welcomed the decision by Minister Butcher.
“The project will enhance ongoing employment and community opportunities in the local district in a business environment affected by COVID-19,” Mr McCabe said.
“The prescribed project declaration will assist in securing timely approvals for the project, whilst providing high standards of environmental protection.”
The announcement was also welcomed by Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker.
“It’s good news for the Queensland and national economies that this expansion project will extend the life of the mine and provide extra jobs,” Mayor Baker said.
“While the construction and operational phases are likely to see workers drawn from a wide area of Queensland, we look forward to seeing economic benefits flow for the Isaac Region as well.
“All mining projects must go through a robust and comprehensive assessment process but it is good news that this project is a step closer to coming to fruition.”
Stanmore Coal in January 2020 submitted an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the Department of Environment and Science, a process that includes reviewing and responding to public submissions.