Pembroke Resources has received approvals from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act for its Olive Downs Coking Coal Project in Central Queensland. The EPBC approvals, together with the grant of the Environmental Authority (EA) by the Queensland government in 2019, provide a clear pathway to the granting of mining leases and the commencement of construction, the company said. The project will create 1,000 new jobs in the region.

The federal environmental approvals authorize activities for Olive Downs’ 79-year mine life and provide the conditions for the operation of the mine and the associated infrastructure corridors, including environmental obligations. Pembroke Chairman and CEO Barry Tudor said the company was pleased with the outcome of a robust and highly consultative review process involved in the granting of the EPBC approvals and considers the outcome to be recognition of the strong environmental planning it has put in place.

“This is an exciting time for the company and the region’s wider community,” Tudor said. “The EPBC approvals, and the EA, which was granted last year, represent key milestones for the project.”

The next key milestone is securing the grant of the mining leases, which will enable the company to commence construction. Tudor said the company anticipates this will be granted in the coming months.

Olive Downs has now assembled all the elements required to commence construction following the grant of the mining leases, including access to power, water, rail and port.

While the planning and project enabling work predates COVID-19, the mine is expected to provide much needed local stimulus during the recovery, with significant economic benefits for Queensland and the creation of up to 500 jobs during construction and more than 1,000 new jobs when the project reaches full operation.

In addition to employment and its contribution to the local economy, 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, the company said.

Pembroke forecasts the project will produce up to 15 million tons per year saleable coal over its 79-year mine life.