Qld approves $82m coal mine expansion

Fraser Barton and Marty SilkAAP
The Isaac Downs metallurgical coal mine is forecast to produce 2.5 million tonnes per year.
Camera IconThe Isaac Downs metallurgical coal mine is forecast to produce 2.5 million tonnes per year. Credit: AAP

The Queensland government has approved an $82 million expansion of Stanmore's Isaac Downs coal mine.

The project near the central Queensland town of Moranbah, which will only produce metallurgical coal used in steelmaking, got the final nod on Tuesday night.

Resource Minister Scott Stewart says the Isaac Downs East extension will produce 2.5 million tonnes of coal per year for up to 10 years.

He says the expanded coal mine will create local jobs and contribute $200 million in royalties to the state government over the decade.

"This project will mean mining jobs for another 10 years, including for the 300 mine workers currently at Isaac Plains, as well as jobs completing rehabilitation in the Isaac Plains East area until 2025," Mr Stewart said in a statement.

"Isaac Downs will create up to 250 new construction jobs and business opportunities in and around Moranbah, as well as broader economic benefits for the Isaac region."

Construction work will begin next month and mining at the Isaac Plains site will transition to the new pit by the end of January 2022.

Mr Stewart said Stanmore would have to spend six years rehabilitating the site before handing it back.

The company bought Isaac Plains in 2015 and the mine mainly produces metallurgical coal for export to Asian and European steel makers.

Stanmore chief executive Marcelo Matos says the expansion is a commitment to the people of central Queensland and the region.

"The company is committed to participating in community development in the Isaac region, and Isaac Downs will ensure ongoing employment opportunities for the Moranbah area as well as enhancing the economic development of the region," he said.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the royalties from the Isaac Plains would help the state pay for services.

"That's why it's been so essential for the resources sector to keep working, earning and employing its way through the COVID-19 pandemic, because so many jobs and businesses rely on resources companies for their income," he said in a statement.

"We take this responsibility very seriously, which is why our companies have gone above and beyond to follow Queensland Health protocols so we can continue to keep our workforce and the communities in which they live and work safe."

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