Winchester South declared coordinated project

WHITEHAVEN Coal’s $1 billion Winchester South metallurgical coal mining project in central Queensland’s Bowen Basin is a step closer to being realised after being declared a coordinated project by Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General.
Winchester South declared coordinated project Winchester South declared coordinated project Winchester South declared coordinated project Winchester South declared coordinated project Winchester South declared coordinated project

Parliament House in Brisbane.

Whitehaven Coal is proposing an open cut metallurgical coal mine that will support the international steel-making industry.


The project would facilitate the extraction of up to eight million tonnes of product coal per annum for approximately 30 years.


Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said the proposed Winchester South facility near Moranbah would create an estimated 950 jobs.


"It's estimated this new mine could create around 500 jobs throughout the two-year construction period and up to 450 full-time jobs during operation," he said.


"Since January 2015, almost 185,000 jobs have been created in Queensland, and our government will keep working to push that number higher."


Whitehaven Coal said the project will entail up to $1 billion in capital expenditure inclusive of the mining fleet, and create 500 jobs during construction and 450 jobs when operating, to produce high quality metallurgical coal for export to the Asian market.


At full capacity, the mine is targeting run-of-mine production of approximately 15Mtpa of predominantly high quality metallurgical coal.


The Winchester South project also includes: mine infrastructure areas including workshops and a coal handling and preparation plant; rail loop and train load out facility; raw water pipeline connecting to the Eungella pipeline network; electricity transmission line from the existing power network; and on-site temporary construction accommodation camp.


Dick said the Queensland government's Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act would ensure central Queensland saw maximum benefit.


"The Act bans large resource projects from employing 100 per cent fly-in-fly-out workforces," he said.


"This means regional Queensland will get the lion's share of jobs, while that economic ripple effect will create opportunities for local small-and-medium-sized businesses."


The decision to declare Winchester South a coordinated project will help facilitate complex approvals as the project undergoes rigorous environmental, social and economic impact assessments.


Draft terms of reference will now be prepared by the Coordinator-General, who will then invite public comment on matters addressed in the environmental impact statement.


If approved, the project is estimated to commence construction in 2021, with the first coal extraction proposed for 2023.


Queensland Resources Council CEO Ian Macfarlane said the decision by the Coordinator-General to declare Winchester South as a "coordinated project" initiated a comprehensive environmental impact statement which involves two rounds of public consultation.


"This is the established process for all major projects, whether they be resources projects, renewable energy projects, tourism projects or infrastructure projects," he said.


"This is a comprehensive process.  It is a process projects like Carmichael coal have been subject to and resulted in the development of a range of conditions."


"This is not a political process.  It is an approval process."