FULL VIEW: The Olive Downs project.
FULL VIEW: The Olive Downs project. Queensland Government

Coal mine takes the next step

CENTRAL Queenslanders are starting to breath a sigh of relief after Queensland's latest coal mine proposal, the Olive Downs project near Moranbah, moves a step closer to approval.

This week the $1 billion project, which will create more than 1000 jobs, was given 'co-ordinated project status' requiring an environmental impact statement.

Minister for State Development Dr Anthony Lynham said the status meant the independent Coordinator-General could now efficiently co-ordinate the environmental assessment process for the Pembroke Resources coking coal mine across state and federal agencies.

"This marks the beginning of a process, including comprehensive environmental impact assessment, towards a development that could create more than 500 construction jobs a year over two years,” Dr Lynham said.

"When the open cut mine is up and running, it could maintain up to 960 operational jobs.

"It would operate for more than 30 years and produce up to 14million tonnes per year.

"Most importantly, Pembroke Resources will encourage workers to live in local towns like Moranbah, Nebo and Middlemount.”

If approved, the mine will reignite confidence in communities, businesses and real estate in towns previously left devastated by the mining downturn.

Raine and Horne managing director of Mackay and Moranbah branches Des Besanko said Moranbah real estate had already experienced the ripple effects of increased activity in the mining sector.

"Leading into the end of the last calendar year we saw a bit of activity, this announcement will increase that activity again,” he said.

Mr Besanko said he could see a correlation between houses selling and increased coal prices, noting that mine job openings were already bringing more people to the area.

"Moranbah is very affordable now. Given how cheap houses are, workers are choosing to relocate and have family close by instead of living away from them,” he said.

Mr Besanko said most houses in Moranbah now range from below $100,000 to $240,000.

"Previously the area went through a capital expend- iture boom, leading to an artificial high in the town where property was too expensive to buy,” he said.

"There was high demand and low supply. Now the market has returned to an affordable price range.”

Fully developed, the Olive Downs complex, located 40 kilometres south-east of Moranbah, will be one of the largest coking mines in the world.

The draft terms of reference for the environmental impact statement will be released in March.

The project

Mine located 40km south east of Moranbah

More than 1000 jobs to be created

Construction to start in 2019

30 year lifespan

Fully developed, one of the largest coking mines in the world

Coal handling and crushing facilities at Olive Downs South and Willunga precincts

A rail link to transport coal to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal

A water pipeline and power transmission line

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