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10 September, 2009

A proposed new coal mining project in Central Queensland has been declared a significant project by Queensland’s Coordinator-General Colin Jensen.

Mr Jensen said Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd’s proposal for an open-cut and underground coal mine at Kevin’s Corner, 56km north of Alpha in the Galilee Basin, would now be subject to a whole of Government approval process through a rigorous Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

“Hancock Prospecting is proposing a $9 billion mine which has the potential to create more than 2500 construction jobs and 2000 ongoing jobs,” Mr Jensen said.

“If approved, construction could begin in early 2011, with first coal exported in 2013 and an expected minimum mine life of 30 years.

“Kevin’s Corner has a forecast export capacity of 30 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa),” he said.

Mr Jensen said Kevin’s Corner was the second Hancock Prospecting coal mine in the Galilee Basin to be declared a significant project.

“The first, the Alpha Coal project, which is adjacent to this new proposed mine, is currently going through the environmental assessment process, after being declared a significant project last October,” Mr Jensen said.

“Kevin’s Corner will be assessed separately, although there is some overlap as this new project involves the planned construction of a rail spur line to link in with the proposed Alpha Coal project rail line and port.”

The company’s Galilee Basin leases contain measured resources of over 800 million tonnes (Mt) of thermal coal, with a target by the end of 2009 of one billion tonnes of measured coal resources, complemented by in excess of four billion tonnes of indicated and inferred resources.

Mr Jensen said he made the significant project declaration for Kevin’s Corner after considering the project’s scale, complexity, and potential environmental and economic impacts.

“It’s important for the public to know that a ‘significant project’ declaration is not an indication of approval of a project,” Mr Jensen said.

“Rather, it signals the beginning of a rigorous assessment, at the proponent’s expense, of the project’s impacts on the natural, social, economic, built and cultural environment.

“It also means the proponent will be able to access the Department of Infrastructure and Planning’s project management and cross-government approvals process coordination,” he said.

The first opportunity for the public to have its say will be when the draft terms of reference for the EIS are released in coming months.

The second and more significant opportunity for public comment will occur when the EIS is released.

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Media contact:  3224 5890