Fitzroy Australia Resources's Ironbark No. 1 mine, 35 km north-east of Moranbah in North Queensland, has been approved.
Fitzroy Australia Resources's Ironbark No. 1 mine, 35 km north-east of Moranbah in North Queensland, has been approved. Contributed

New Bowen Basin mine to bring 350 jobs for CQ

EXCLUSIVE: About 350 ongoing jobs will be up for grabs following the announcement the state's newest mine in the Bowen Basin has been given the green light.

Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham has told the Daily Mercury that Fitzroy Australia Resource's Ironbark No.1 mine has been approved.

About 160 contractors will also be required during the construction of the mine.

The announcement comes as about 430 jobs will be lost at Hail Creek mine due to a restructure, and as 225 workers remain off site after an underground fire at North Goonyella Mine.

Located about 35 kilometres north-east of Moranbah, Ironbark No.1 is expected to produce up to 6 million tonnes per annum run of mine coal as a greenfields underground longwall operation, Dr Lynham said.

Most of the coal will be low-ash hard coking coal for steel production and the first load of coal is expected in the first quarter of 2020.

"This project offers around 20 years of jobs for regional Queensland communities -with 160 contractors during construction and up to 350 operational staff," Dr Lynham said.

"Ironbark No.1 comes on top of the 13 committed resources projects in Queensland with a combined capital value of more than $9.4 billion across multiple commodities.

"Another 42 projects are at feasibility stage, with a combined capital value of more than $65 billion, again, across multiple commodities.

"Queensland remains a global resources investment magnet, as our $56 billion resources sector generates thousands of jobs and business opportunities and royalties to pay for our teachers, doctors and nurses."

Fitzroy acquired Ironbark No.1, the neighbouring Carborough Downs mine and the Broadlea project from Brazilian mining giant Vale in November, 2016.

The new mine will share major infrastructure with Carborough Downs, Dr Lynham said.

Fitzroy chief executive officer Grant Polwarth said he was excited to reach a major milestone in the growth of the company.

"This approval allows us to pursue our vision for the expansion of Fitzroy, providing opportunities to our existing workforce, the local community and the region more broadly," he said.

Dr Lynham said the underground metallurgical coal mine's sharing of infrastructure with Carborough Downs marked it as a low impact development.

"Ironbark No. 1 will be a modern and innovative underground operation," Mr Polwarth added.

"At Fitzroy, we pride ourselves on being a people business that mines coal and the construction of Ironbark No.1 will see that vision continued."

Fitzroy's assets include some 98,000 hectares of tenement holding in the central Bowen Basin for metallurgical coal, the minister said.

"Ironbark No. 1 is the first new development in realising the potential of this significant portfolio," Dr Lynham exclaimed.

Meanwhile, State Member for Mackay and Assistant State Development Minister Julieanne Gilbert described the announcement of the approval as a shot in the arm for the regional economy.

"This is great news for Mackay and coalfields families, and businesses, especially those affected by the recent job losses at Hail Creek," she said.

"It shows that the resources sector continues to offer bright prospects for our region well into the future."