BY REUBEN ADAMS
IN a brief statement, QLD Mines minister Dr Anthony Lynham has finally granted mining leases for a $7 billion coal development in the Surat Basin – a decade after Glencore applied for them.
Dr Lynham today approved three 27-year leases over 30,000 hectares for Stage 1 of Glencore’s proposed $7 billion Wandoan thermal coal project near Roma, which could produce up to 22 million tonnes per annum when fully operational.
This would be the first major coal project of this scale in the Surat Basin, but still required a rail link to the Port of Gladstone for export, Dr Lynham stated.
Glencore welcomed the decision but stated that it would need to review the details after placing the project on hold in 2013.
“We applied for these leases in 2007. The project’s Environmental Impact Statement was approved by the Coordinator-General in November 2010 and received Environmental approval from the Commonwealth Government in March 2011,” Glencore stated.
“We have been transparent with Governments and the community since 2013, when the project was placed on hold, that we will continue to assess the project’s timing against the global coal market.”
Glencore moved immediately to temper enthusiasm over the project’s development, stating that it would take a “responsible approach” to decision making.
“Adding significant new tonnes to the market at this time could adversely impact the profitability of existing thermal coal production, potentially putting jobs at risk as the market adjusts downwards as a result of oversupply,” Glencore stated.
“The Wandoan Coal Project will require a multi-billion dollar capital investment for both the mine and related rail infrastructure.
We maintain an open and regular engagement with the Wandoan community and provide updates of any developments or changes directly.”