Located within the company’s Maryborough tenements southeast of Bundaberg, the Colton open cut is targeting 1 million tonnes per annum of raw coal to produce 500,000 tonnes of coking coal for a mine life of 8-10 years.
Mining of the 5.9Mt of probable hard coking coal reserves is expected to start in early 2011.
An operational workforce of about 100 people is expected to be sourced from the nearby towns of Maryborough and Hervey Bay plus the surrounding communities in what will be a drive-in, drive-out operation.
Mining and overburden removal will make use of excavators, dozers and trucks.
Part of the old Pialba Rail Corridor track will be reconstructed under the project, which also requires a rail balloon loop.
Northern Energy plans to rail the coal through the North Coast Line to the Barney Point Coal Terminal at Gladstone, and later through the Wiggins Island Coal Terminal once the capacity is available.
The project also requires a small 300 tonne per hour processing plant.
The federal application was made to meet the requirements of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Two species, the Green Sawfish and the Mary River Turtle, have been flagged as being possibly impacted by the development.