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$1B coal mine approved in Australia

The Queensland government has granted mining leases for Pembroke Resources’ A$1 billion Olive Downs coking coal project, paving the way for construction to start.
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Pembroke Resources' Olive Downs project in Queensland, Australia

Pembroke chairman and CEO Barry Tudor said the mining leases had been the final approval hurdle to start the first stage of the project.

The mining leases grants follow approvals from the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

Olive Downs is expected to produce 15 million tonnes per annum of saleable coal over its 79-year mine life and create more than 1000 jobs in the region.

Pembroke has already assembled the elements needed to start construction following the grant of the mining leases, including securing access to power, water, rail and port and is finalising finance and offtake partners.

The mine is expected to provide much needed local stimulus in the recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating up to 500 jobs during construction.

Pembroke has committed to providing workers with an opportunity to live in towns near the mine including Moranbah and Dysart.

The project is expected to provide opportunities for local and regional suppliers, contractors, service providers and the wider business community.

In addition to employment in, and its contribution to, the local economy of Central Queensland, the steelmaking coal project is also expected to generate around $5.5 billion in royalties for the Queensland Government over the life of the mine.

"We are extremely pleased to have been granted the mining leases, having consulted extensively with the local community over the past four years," Tudor said.

"In addition to our commitment to the environment, we have focused on creating local jobs and proactively engaged with all stakeholders, including establishing a strong relationship with Barada Barna as the Traditional Owners of the land, with whom we have an Indigenous Land Use Agreement and Cultural Heritage Management Plan in place."

Queensland mines minister Dr Anthony Lynham said preparation work for construction at Olive Downs could begin immediately.

"It's expected core construction activities at the mine site 40km south-east of Moranbah will begin in 2021 with mining starting as soon as construction is complete," he said.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the resources industry in Queensland had a long future whether it was metallurgical coal from the Bowen Basin, bauxite from Weipa or rare earth minerals from the North West Minerals Province.

Olive Downs is expected to contribute an estimated $8 billion to the local economy and more than $10 billion to Queensland's economy over its life.

Pembroke is an Australian specialist steelmaking coal company that is backed by its major shareholder, energy and resources private equity firm Denham Capital.