An interesting month for the future of the vast untapped coal of the Galilee
Wednesday 07 February 2018
The future of a massive Chinese owned and funded coal proposal in the Galilee Basin will soon be clearer, with owners MacMines having just a month to meet government deadlines in the approvals process.
Macmines have until the 9th March to submit a final EIS for its $6.7 Billion China Stone Project, which - if accepted - will see it become a Co-ordinated project and referred to the Federal Government for approval.
Under the State Government process for approving new mine developments, companies have 18 months from the approval of a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to submit a final EIS.
If they can prove they have been working on it - but not yet finished - the Coordinator General may allow an extension.
In Macmines’s case, this will be their third deadline, having already sought two extensions since they released a draft EIS for public comment late in 2015.
Encouragingly, the granting of extensions is proof they are moving forward with the project, albeit at a snail's pace.
Chinese billionaire Yao Junliang controls Macmines through his energy company Meijin which currently employs around 14,000 people.
Like other nearby proposed Galilee projects - the size of Meijin’s China Stone project is staggering. It includes a complex of both underground and above ground coal mines producing more than three times the annual coal production of Queensland biggest mines today for possibly 50 years. It would generate around 4000 jobs in construction and roughly 3500 in ongoing operational roles.
However, of the six most advanced major coal mines proposed for the Galilee Basin, the China Stone Coal Project is the least progressed in terms of required government approvals, and like all the other Galilee proponents, developing the mine requires overcoming a suite of well documented massive economic and logistical challenges.