JOBS, JOBS, JOBS: A mine that will eventually have the capacity to employ 500 workers is opening in CQ.
JOBS, JOBS, JOBS: A mine that will eventually have the capacity to employ 500 workers is opening in CQ. Luke Mortimer

Coastal coal mine project has 500 job potential

PLANS are under way to develop the Styx Coal project, about 200km south of Mackay, on the eastern side of the Bruce Hwy.

Fairway Coal and Styx Coal, wholly owned subsidiaries of Mineralogy Proprietary Ltd, are behind the proposed project, which has been referred to the Department of Environment and Energy for approval.

Fairway Coal managing director Nui Harris said labour resources would be sourced from within the general local area, as a drive-in, drive-out workforce.

Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker, who has been a harsh critic of fly-in, fly-out, said another mine using a drive-in, drive-out workforce was positive news for workers and their families.

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According to Mr Harris, the mine will hire 200 employees during construction (which he anticipates in 2018) and 250 employees during operations, with an option to increase to 500 should operations increase to maximum throughput tonnages.

"A small portion of the workforce is anticipated to come from outside the broader central Queensland coalfields area on a fly-in, fly-out basis."

Mr Harris said the mine plan was based on construction starting in 2018, with first production in the same year, following a construction period of about six months.

Any start date, however, is in the hands of the State Government as it moves through the approvals process.

"The project will initially involve the mining of approximately two-million tonnes per annum with options of increasing to five or 10 Mtpa of high grade thermal coal and/or semi-soft coking coal," he said.

The mine has a lifespan of 20-25 years. As part of the project, there would be two open cut pit operations.

Mr Harris said a new train loadout facility would be developed to connect into the existing North Coast Rail Line.

"The TLF will require all new infrastructure and connect to the existing north coast rail network, which will allow transport of the product coal to the established coal loading infrastructure at the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal," he said.

Millionaire and former MP Clive Palmer is the founder of Mineralogy, and his mining company, QNI Metals, owned the property where the mine is being developed, a 6258ha cattle property called Mamelon Station.

In March receivers of QNI Metals put the property to auction to recover debt, but it was passed in with the bid at $1.5million.

At the time Fairway Coal and Styx Coal had mining tenements on the property and entered into a conduct and compensation agreement with Mr Palmer that delayed the auction by several days.

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