Batchfire's Callide mine at Biloela.
Batchfire's Callide mine at Biloela. Batchfire

600 CQ mine workers breathe sigh of relief

600 WORKERS at a Central Queensland mine can now breathe a big sigh of relief.

Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, announced on Thursday Batchfire Callide Pty Ltd had been granted an extension for their mining lease for their Boundary Hill mine.

The mining lease extends the life of the operation to 2043.

The lease will allow the Callide mine to continue to supply approximately 6.5 million tonnes of thermal coal each year for baseload power generation and alumina manufacturing.

Batchfire CEO Peter Westerhuis welcomed the news of the extended lease.

"It is never certain, it's been a pretty long process but we are happy it has secured that part of the mine for the next 20 years," Mr Westerhuis said.

Batchfire Resources bought the mine off Anglo American in October 2016, who began the process in applying for the lease.

"Anglo had done some work and we finished it off, it probably took about five years," Mr Westerhuis said.

"These things are now determined by very strict environmental conditions and you need to make sure everything is done correctly and sustainably."

Defending the environmental side of things, Queensland Greens Senator and spokesperson for Mining and Resources, Andrew Bartlett, released a statement on Wednesday night, only hours after the mining lease extension was announced.

The statement says the state Labor government's decision to issue a lease to extend the life of the Boundary Hill coal mine betrays Queenslanders while serving the interests of the Labor Party's paymasters in the fossil fuel industry.   

"Coal kills. If we don't invest in renewable, clean energy, parts of Queensland will become unlivable, natural disasters will be far worse and farming will be devastated," Mr Bartlett said.

"What's stopping this investment we urgently need is political and corporate greed. 

"Fossil fuel companies donate millions to both Labor and the Liberals and in return, they're allowed to poison our climate and make an obscene profit. 

"We must fix the rigged system that allows fossil fuel companies to have a stranglehold on our politics. 

"We must demand our elected representatives work for a future for all of us".

Mr Westerhuis said he had no interest in engaging with the Green's statement but that Callide mine was a major employer in Central Queensland.

"We support many jobs and many programs that support the Callide Mine," he said.

Batchfire itself employs around 600 people through the mine, all who were glad to hear the lease extension news.

"People were anxious, it removes a lot of uncertainty, everyone was happy to hear it," Mr Westerhuis.

Callide mine has operated since 1944 producing low sulphur, sub-bituminous thermal coal primarily for domestic power generation and alumina refining.

"Callide mine supports Callide power station which provides 15% of the baseload of all the state's power," Mr Westerhuis said.

"We're happy it is finally approved and we will get on supplying coal to the power station and continuing to support it."

In 2017, Batchfire Resources applied to the state government to start the Boundary Hill South project at Callide.

Boundary Hill operation resources are expected to run out in early 2018 and Batchfire are now now focusing on the Boundary Hill South operations.

Mr Westerhuis said he is happy with the price of coal recently and the future of the mine.

"The coal price is stabilised and we are satisified with where they at the moment," he said.

"The Callide mine has a long, long life yet."


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