$10.1 billion Dysart mine’s environmental checklist
A PROPOSED Dysart mine that could create more than 1000 jobs will have to meet strict environmental approval conditions and spend $1 million on koala and glider protection.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley outlined the safeguards required when announcing environmental approval for Pembroke's Olive Downs Mine yesterday.
Pembroke will contribute $1 million over 10 years - in $100,000 a year instalments - to protect koalas and greater gliders in the Bowen Basin.
The miner must also maintain and restore the animals' riverbank habitats, create a 34,000 hectare property as part of environmental offset management, and co-operate with independent koala researchers, Ms Ley said.
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Pembroke must also comprehensively monitor and manage groundwater-dependent ecosystems that may be impacted by the mine.
"My key focus in finalising this decision has been to consider that the impacts of the bushfires, specifically the impacts on our koala and greater glider populations, were properly addressed," Ms Ley said.
If approved, Ms Ley said, the mine would produce $10.1 billion of metallurgical coal for Queensland and provide 500 jobs during construction and a further 1000 in operation.
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Pembroke chairman and chief executive officer Barry Tudor said the approvals, together with the state Environmental Authority, provided a clear pathway to granting the mining leases and the start of construction.
Mr Tudor said he was pleased with the recognition of Pembroke's strong environmental planning.
Pembroke would provide workers with an opportunity to live in nearby towns, including Moranbah and Dysart, and was fully committed to building a sustainable futures the community, he said.
Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt said the mine would generate 15 million tonnes of coal per annum.
Mr Pitt said an agreement with the Barada Barna Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the traditional owners, would provide employment and other opportunities at the mine.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the finalisation of the mine's environment assessment was another win for the region.
"The resources industry is alive and well in Queensland and the approval of another project will go a long way in assisting the state as we move into a post-COVID-19 economy," Ms Landry said.
In the 2018-19 financial year, the resource sector produced $1.1 billion in wages and 7070 full-time jobs in the Capricornia region, she said.
"(And) around $1.6 billion was also spent on goods and services locally, benefiting around 1430 local businesses."
State Regional Development minister Glenn Butcher said he welcomed the project's approval but questioned why it had taken so long.
"When you look at the conditions imposed on the proposal, it's difficult to see how it has taken more than 12 months to provide an outcome.
"That's more than 12 months of holding up 1500 jobs in regional Queensland at a time when we need our economy firing on all cylinders.
Ms Ley said approval for the project came after the Agriculture, Water and the Environment Department received four referrals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 relating to the Olive Downs Coal Mine: a mine site and access road; a water pipeline; an electricity transmission line; and a rail spur
"The project was assessed by the Queensland Office of the Coordinator-General through a 'bilateral' report that did not provide sufficient detail, and which necessitated further consultation between my department and the proponent before I was in a position to make an informed decision," Ms Ley said.
"The decision to finalise the environmental assessment of the Olive Downs project comes after the water pipeline, electricity transmission line and rail spur components were approved subject to conditions in April this year."
Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said the final approval would provide a necessary boost to the local economy.
And Keppel MP Brittany Lauga said with Federal Government approval finally in place, local job opportunities would quickly follow.
Construction on the project is now expected to commence in coming months, Ms Lauga said.