1500 new jobs for CQ 2019?
US backed private company lodges paperwork to develop CQ’s biggest coking coal mine
Wednesday 08 February 2017
Private coal company Pembroke Resources has lodged its first paperwork with the Federal Department of Environment this week, as it moves toward developing a major coal mining complex South East of Moranbah.
Under the proposal, Pembroke is looking to develop two significant coking and PCI coal deposits known as Olive Downs South and Willunga, with the possibility of also developing the adjacent Olive Downs North coal deposit.
Collectively, Pembroke says the proposed open cut truck and shovel mine development would generate around 600 construction jobs and nearly a 1000 operational roles. The mines would last for 37 years and produce 15 million tonnes ROM coal a year at full production.
The lodging of referrals with the Federal Department of Environment is a small but significant step for the development of a new mine. The acceptance of a referral simply entitles Pembroke to begin the enormous task of getting an approved EIS.
Concurrently they also need to get special approvals for water, and if both these are approved, they then need to get a mining lease.
However, the referral is nonetheless a sign they are serious about it.
Accordingly, Pembroke has flagged first coal in 2019 although Chairman (and former Gloucester Coal managing director) Barry Tudor told national media they are working as fast as they can.
“We know it’s a world-class asset and we are advancing it as quickly as we can,” he told The Australian.
The Olive Downs coal deposits have been on the radar for at least a decade. They were formerly owned by Macarthur Coal and acquired by Peabody when they bought the Macarthur business.
However, with Peabody entering into administration last year, Pembroke - with the backing of US-based private equity firm Denham Capital - bought the Olive Downs South and Willunga deposits for $US120 million plus royalties, saying they were among the best coking coal deposits in the world.
“We were very picky; we looked at everything out there as the market fell,” Mr Tudor told media.
“We wanted good quality metallurgical coal, good location, with no infrastructure challenges and volume, and that’s what we got with Olive Downs.”
Of particular interest to Pembroke’s financiers was that the Olive Downs project could - in theory - be developed incrementally according to market forces.
However, this goal of staged development is best achieved if Pembroke can either gain full control of or buy, the adjacent Olive Downs North tenement from the Coppabella Moorvale JV who were Peabody’s junior partner in the tenement.
In this ideal scenario, Pembroke could theoretically start mining its deposits very cheaply and use the nearby Moorvale wash plant under contract, to process the coal for export through Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal.
However, the CMJV has yet to agree to this.
Other notable elements of the Olive Downs proposal are that Pembroke says it won’t be building any new accommodation, instead relying on existing mining camps and a local workforce.
They plan to wash the coal using water supplied by the Eungella Pipeline Network from a point near the Peak Downs mine, and they will need to build an 18-kilometre rail spur connecting them to the Norwich Park branch railway to export.
Pembroke has so far had meetings with the Isaac Regional Council, local landholders and the native title group the Barada Barna People