New Bowen Basin coal mine to employ 145-160 people
New Bowen Basin coal mine to employ 145-160 people

New coal mine to employ up to 160 people

A NEW Bowen Basin coal mine is planning to start production by May 2021 and operate for the next 20 years.

The Moorlands Project is in the western Bowen Basin, about 250km southwest of Mackay and close to the Blair Athol Coal Mine.

Details of the project have been put forward before but the mine's size has been changed after concern from nearby landholders.

Hannigan and Associates and Blackwood Coal, both owned by Chinese corporation Huaxin Energy, are applying for the mining leases.

Originally a mining lease application was submitted for Moorlands South but this has been withdrawn and resubmitted covering a smaller area.

Another lease has been applied for to help address landholder concerns and provide an alternative access route for the Moorlands project, the company said.

In its mining lease it shows the project would be an open cut thermal coal mine, producing 1.9 million tonnes a year.

The company is hoping to begin production in May 2021.

"It is anticipated that during operation a steady state workforce of between 145 to 160 people will be employed," the application said.

Providing approval is granted and finances are in line, Huaxin Energy is hoping to start construction in November this year. This is expected to take between 18-24 months.

A number of new or reopened coal mines have begun in the Bowen Basin after the price skyrocketed during the past two years.

The Olive Downs project near Moranbah is one new mine and Terracom's Blair Athol Coal mine was reopened as was Stanmore Coal's Isaac Plains.

Prices for coal were $95.42 per tonne at the end of last month. Although lower than the same time last year it's significantly higher than about $50 per tonne price in mid 2016.

The public can comment on the proposed mining lease.

Huaxin Energy and Isaac Regional Council were contacted for comment.