China Stone Coal Project Galilee Basin - new mine proposed

China Stone Coal project Chinese Galilee Basin mining project

38 Million tonne per year coal mine proposed by Chinese company

If you are one of the many thousands of Australian mining worker currently confused about what exactly is happening with the Galilee Basin – then we don’t blame you!

With so many conflicting news items flashing up everywhere, this story playing the negative angle and another playing the positive – what do you believe?

In the wake of the Australian Federal government’s decision to overturn the decision to allow Indian based mining and energy company Adani to go ahead and develop its Carmichael thermal coal mine, many industry workers are shocked that the mine looks like it may never get off the ground. However – don’t give up hope just yet…..

Almost in the same week as the shock announcement about Adani’s Carmichael mine came another announcement (this time it was a positive one) – about the China Stone Coal project – also in the Galilee Basin. This huge project has gotten media attention owing to the company looking to develop the coal resource submitting an Environmental Impact Statement to develop a $6.7 billion coal mine in the very same Galilee Basin as the Adani Carmichael mine.

China Stone Coal project

The Queensland Galilee Basin China Stone Coal project is being proposed by MacMines Australasia, which forms part of the Meijin Energy Group.

The company has shown intention to construct a huhe greenfield coal mine with an estimated production output of 38 million tonnes per year of high-quality thermal coal.

The EIS indicated the China Stone Coal project could potentially create 3900 Queensland mining jobs in the Galilee Basin and; over the expected 50 year life=span could generate $5.9 billion in government royalties – which is always an attractive outcome for the state and federal governments of Australia.

Open-cut and longwall mining operations proposed

The thermal coal will be mined using a combination of open-cut and underground mining operations. Owing to the size of the coal seams, the open-cut operations will more than likely include the use of multiple draglines and traditional haul truck and shovel operations.

Three longwalls are expected to be constructed to get at the rich coal seams that are deemed too deep to access using open-cut methods. With the size of the seams being immense, it’s thought two separate underground mining areas will be utilised.

With the percentage of underground mining in Australia expected to become almost 40% of mining operations in the very near future, it’s time to think about upskilling and getting a few underground tickets and qualifications if you are looking to work underground on this project.

The China Stone Coal project, will be huge and will mean a power station will be built on-site, as well as a private runway to service the FIFO workforce, as well as the usual accommodation village which is expected to house over 3000 workers.

Anthony Lynham, the Queensland Minister for Mining and Natural Resources, said the project, if successfully implemented would create many mining jobs for the region, which has suffered over the last few years due to declining coal prices and demand from one of the largest consumers of coal – China.

Queensland Government supports the new mine

“The Queensland Palaszczuk Government supports the sustainable development of the Galilee Basin, because… Queenslanders need these jobs,” Lynham said.

“It’s a sign of confidence in the Queensland economy that the proponents are moving ahead with this project, although it is still early days.”

The China Stone Coal EIS is on public exhibition until September 7, 2015.

Bob Katter voices his opinion on QLD FIFO mining jobs

However, outspoken and well-known country celebrity Federal MP Bob Katter said the FIFO (fly-in fly-out) mine could mean the local living close to the mine would miss out on vital jobs.

As usual, the mention of FIFO mines, staffed by remote workers is a contentious issue and one that generates heated debate. The new Queensland Labor government has vowing to eradicate the practice of FIFO only mines, citing the BHP Daunia mine as an example.

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Jobs for local Queensland workers

Jobs for local workers will always be a priority, and this makes a lot of sense where there are fully-qualified and experienced operators who are willing to work. One of the issues with employing local workers, as far as the bigger mining companies are concerned is the ‘bottom line’ focus on productivity which equates to profits for shareholders.

Human resource departments are more disposed to employing workers who have little experience (as in the Daunia mine) and train them up from scratch. Using this method, the old school ways of working are stamped out and there is more control over how the work is done – and to specific time frames.

Whichever way you look at it and no matter what your opinions are on FIFO operated mines – this new proposed coal mine development in Queensland could suffer long delays in getting approvals – only time will tell.

Four huge thermal coal mines proposed for QLD Galilee Basin

Not forgetting of course that in the Galilee Basin there are also two other mines in the process of attaining final government approval. We have the GVK (Indian based) Hancock Coal (Gina Rinehart) joint venture project as well as the Clive Palmer controlled China First mine. With four, huge mines being proposed, there will be an interesting couple of years ahead.

So don’t lose hope if you are involved in mining in some way, shape or form – the future is uncertain, and you can look at it with a glass half full – or a glass half empty view…just keep looking!

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