MacMines Austasia Pty Ltd. has received approval from Queensland’s coordinator general for the China Stone Coal project, a major step for the development of another huge Australian coal project. MacMines Austasia is a subsidiary of the Meijin Energy Group, a privately held Chinese energy company. Meijin is also China’s top metallurgical coke producer and has interests in coal mining, steel production and clean energy production.

The conditional approval of China Stone’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a milestone in the project’s path, the company said. At peak production, the proposed open cut and underground operations located in the Galilee Basin would produce 38 million metric tons per year (mtpy) with a mine life of 50 years. Situated just north of Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal project, it would be the fifth coal mine in the Galilee Basin to reach this stage. MacMines has applied for mining leases to enable the project to proceed and this next step will take time to complete.

The China Stone project would include the development of mine infrastructure areas, a coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP), a tailings storage facility (TSF), a rail loop and train-loading facilities, a coal-fired power station and power station waste storage facility, a private airstrip, and an accommodation village.

“There are significant local, regional and state benefits to be derived from the China Stone coal project, and that environmental impacts can be acceptably managed, minimized or offset, through the implementation of the measures and proponent commitments outlined in the EIS,” said Barry Broe, Queensland’s coordinator general.

Critical to the development of the China Stone Coal Project is the completion of a railway that links the northern Galilee Basin to the Abbot Point coal terminal. This is the key enabling infrastructure for the project and MacMines said it is considering options to deliver this outcome.

One the major conditions in his report requires continual, progressive rehabilitation during the life of the project. “As part of my assessment of the EIS, I have set conditions in this evaluation report to avoid, manage and mitigate impacts on the environment and local communities,” Broe said. “I consider there to be significant environmental, economic and social benefits to be realized by returning the land to a useful state after mining, including for grazing and as habitat for the endangered black-throated finch and other significant fauna species.”

This report can be found here: https://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/resources/cg/eis-china-stone-coal-project-unsigned.pdf