The Queensland Government has approved mining leases for the Olive Downs coking coal project in Central Queensland. The granting of the mining leases follows approvals from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act in early 2020, and the granting of the Environmental Authority by the Queensland Government in 2019.

Pembroke Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Barry Tudor thanked Minister Anthony Lynham for the mining lease approvals, saying they were the final approval hurdle to commence the first stage of the project. Olive Downs will create more than 1,000 new jobs in the region as the project is developed to produce up to a forecast of 15 million metric tons per year (mtpy) of saleable coal over its 79-year mine life.

“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,” Tudor said.

With some 838 million mt of JORC Resources and 514 million mt of open-cut JORC Reserves of a globally recognized product, Olive Downs is widely acknowledged as a potential tier one steelmaking coal project. Strategically positioned in the Bowen Basin and with access to infrastructure, the project will supply steelmaking coal to markets globally and attract strong interest within the industry across Asia, including Japan, Korea and China.

Olive Downs has already assembled the key elements required to commence construction following the grant of the mining leases, including securing access to power, water, rail and port, even as finance and offtake partners are finalized.

Construction at the project will provide 500 jobs.

The coal project is expected to generate around $5.5 billion in royalties for the Queensland Government over the life of the mine.