Draft EIS lodged for China First: report

BILLIONAIRE Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal has reportedly lodged its draft environmental impact statement with the Queensland government for its flagship $A8 billion China First coal project in the Galilee Basin.

Blair Price

The joint venture with Metallurgical Corporation of China is targeting 40 million tonnes per annum, with first thermal coal previously expected in the third quarter of 2013.

The project also includes development of 495 kilometres of rail to link to its proposed two-berth 40 million tonnes per annum coal export terminal north of the existing port infrastructure at Abbot Point.

The Queensland government is yet to publicly release the draft environmental impact statement, but a spokesperson confirmed to the Australian Financial Review it had received the draft EIS and could release this information in a few weeks.

Timelines for the open cut and underground project might have changed with the lodgement of the draft EIS.

Under the previous plan, open cut operations of the project were expected to use four draglines with prestripping to begin in 2012, while four longwalls are also planned with each to produce 9Mtpa.

During peak construction, the JV plans to house 6000 construction employees near the site and have 1500 fly-in, fly-out permanent employees.

The site will also feature a 1.8km airstrip capable of landing a jet liner.

Waratah plans to purchase six complete train sets comprising four 4500 horsepower locomotives and 180 wagons.

The private coal company holds a total of 7.4 billion tonnes of resources in the Galilee Basin, including the 3.48Bt of resources held under its separate North Alpha project.

There is press speculation Palmer could revive his previous plans for a $3 billion float of Waratah parent company ResourceHouse on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, but Palmer recently said there was no prospectus, therefore “no launch”, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.