China Stone project advances

CHINESE coal giant Meijin has applied for federal environmental approval for mammoth China Stone coal project in Queensland’s northern Galilee Basin.

Blair Price

Planning changes for the project since last year have made it target 55 million tonnes per annum of run of mine instead of 60Mtpa ROM, while the start of construction is aiming for 2016 instead of 2015.

Meijin subsidiary Macmines Austasia is seeking a 50-year mine life.

The project area covers about 20,000 hectares of mainly cattle grazing land with all of it leased by just three private landholders.

A northern zone of about 9000 hectares is slated for underground mining, with Macmines saying this could comprise of up to three longwall operations.

The other areas will be used for open cut mining and on site infrastructure – which will include a private airstrip, an accommodation village and a power station in addition to typical items such as rail loop, haul roads, preparation plant, tailings dam, stockpiles, conveyor and admin infrastructure.

The peak construction workforce is expected to be 3900 while the peak operational workforce is tipped to number 3400.

Macmin aims to export through Abbot Point and build a rail link to separately proposed rail that will link other Galilee Basin projects to this port.

“However, the alignment of the preferred rail line from the Galilee Basin to Abbot Point is not certain and consequently it is not possible to confirm the location of the off site rail spur at this stage,” it said.

“The off site rail spur connecting the on site rail to the future Galilee Basin to Abbot Point rail line therefore does not form part of this referral.

“The proponent is proposing to obtain export capacity at the Abbot Point Coal Terminal via a port access agreement.”

The water supply issue for the project cannot be nailed down yet either.

“The project is also likely to require an external raw water supply. There are a number of parties currently developing water supply options for the Galilee Basin coal mines,” the Meijin subsidiary said.

“However, there is no preferred water supply option identified at this stage.”

First open cut coal and first longwall production are both slated for 2018. Full production of 55Mtpa ROM is expected to yield 38Mtpa of export thermal coal.