Contributed

Coal’s future looks bright

THE year of hope is 2016, when mining industry professionals are predicting an upward swing in the coal market.

With Adani's Carmichael pit to port project now ticked off to proceed and other Central Highlands mines well on their way to kicking off construction, hopes were high for the Highlands.

At the CHDC Business Breakfast, Turning a Corner in Coal, Cockatoo Coal chief development officer Todd Harrington expressed his belief that 2016 would be the magic year for the resource.

"I strongly believe in 2016 and beyond," Mr Harrington said.

Cockatoo Coal was looking towards its Baralaba North expansion project, which started operations in May and was expected to create up to 200 jobs.

Bandanna Energy managing director Michael Gray also spoke and said the company, which recently signed deals with Samsung, was focused on the next two quarters for the future of its Springsure Creek project.

"The next three to six months is critical for us," Mr Gray said.

Bandanna was still working with local landholders to reach make-good agreements and compensation agreements, but it is struggling.

Out of the 12 landholders in the Golden Triangle region directly affected, nine have reached compensation agreements, two are almost finished and one landholder agreement remained outstanding.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt's approval of the $16.5 billion Carmichael project was subject to 36 of the "absolute strictest" conditions.

The project would feature Australia's biggest coal mine, covering 200km sq north-west of Clermont and producing about 60 million tonnes of coal a year from open cut and underground operations.

Mr Hunt said a "rigorous, open and thorough" environmental assessment process was undertaken.

He said the conditions were focused on conserving groundwater, such as requiring 730 mega litres of water be returned to the Great Artesian Basin every year for five years.

"It is going to boost our economic growth and royalties will come back to this state for many, many years to pay for schools and hospitals," Premier Campbell Newman said.

"I welcome the approval of this important project. It will create a lot of jobs for Queensland."


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