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New Bowen Basin coal project approved

Gainwall highwall mining unit
Gainwall highwall mining unit

A proposed coal development is one step closer to construction in Queensland’s Isaac region.

The State Department of Environment and Science recently approved Vitrinite’s Vulcan South Coal Mine, about 230km southwest of Mackay.

The department did not require the proponent to submit an environmental impact statement (EIS) because the 1.95 million tonne (Mt) project does not meet the 2 Mt threshold required for an EIS. It still needed endorsement from Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek at the time of publication.

Former Australian Environment Minister Sussan Ley previously granted federal approval for the adjacent $160M Vulcan Coal Project. The decision requires the proponent to not clear more than 203.5 hectares (ha) of koala habitat, 170 ha of squatter pigeon breeding habitat and 209.8 ha of squatter pigeon foraging habitat under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

That project is promised to create at least 150 full time jobs, and extract about 6 Mt of run-of-mine coal at a rate of up to 1.95 Mt per annum throughout its initial four-year lifespan. The successful contractor is already collecting jobseeker information through its website.

Click here to apply.

India-headquartered Gainwell Engineering Global won the tender to deliver a GHWM300M highwall mining unit, which will be manufactured under license from Caterpillar with more developed and refined in the United States.

The units are promised to be safe, highly productive, more environmentally friendly, and able to access coal that would otherwise be stranded due to financial constraints.

First coal is expected to be mined sometime in 2024. If the first unit proves successful more are likely to be deployed in “quick succession” to increase production.

A small out-of-pit waste rock dump, an explosives magazine, project offices, heavy vehicle workshops and park up plus other associated infrastructure will be required.

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