Whitehaven's Todd Harrington, Capricornia candidate Russell Robertson, Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert, Dawson candidate Belinda Hassan and Queensland senator Anthony Chisholm talk about the new mine at Winchester South.
Whitehaven's Todd Harrington, Capricornia candidate Russell Robertson, Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert, Dawson candidate Belinda Hassan and Queensland senator Anthony Chisholm talk about the new mine at Winchester South. Caitlan Charles

New mine to keep Bowen Basin alive

THE new Whitehaven mine is expected to help maintain the Bowen Basin's whole-of-life prospects.

With decades of mining in the area, Whitehaven's project manager Todd Harrington said the Winchester South facility near Moranbah would help keep the basin alive for years to come.

His comments came at a press conference after the Daily Mercury broke news of the new mine reaching the next stage of the approval process overnight.

The project, which was expected to be shovel-ready in 2021, will line up with the end-of-life of other mines in the area. .

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said Whitehaven had planned for the future of jobs in the region.

"They've got their eyes on making sure they include all those locals who may be working at existing mines that are coming to their end of life to tap them on the shoulder because they want to ensure those people who are already in the industry have the opportunity to step into this new project," she said.

"This will be a win-win for everyone in the mining industry."

Whitehaven acquired the project in the middle of last year and Mr Harrington said this mine would "be like the last building blocks of the basin".

"The project contains metallurgical coal which will be used for the Asian export steal industries and markets," he said.

"We're yet to finalise (how much coal we believe it could produce), but our early estimates have looked at an early operation that would approximate about 15 million tonnes of run of mine, which is pre-washing, and then on a product basis, that's in the order of about eight million tonnes.

"Ballpark mines, comparing it to other mines out there, that is about middle of the pack."

The mine site is currently used for cattle farming, but there are no homesteads on the site.

The declaration was out forward to the state government in February this year. The next stage will be their environmental impact statement.

Queensland Resources Council chief Ian Macfarlane said the Winchester South project was an open-cut metallurgical coal mine with an estimated annual production of up to eight million tonnes of product coal for 30 years, for steel production.

"The decision by the Coordinator-General to declare Winchester South as a 'coordinated project' initiated a comprehensive environmental impact statement which involves two rounds of public consultation," he said.

"This is the established process for all major projects, whether they be resources projects, renewable energy projects, tourism projects or infrastructure projects.

"This is a comprehensive process. It is a process projects like Carmichael Coal have been subject to and resulted in the development of a range of conditions.

"This is not a political process. It is an approval process.

"The QRC expects this process to remain free of politics, and that all projects get a 'fair go'.

"The treatment of Carmichael Coal since its EIS was approved by both the Queensland and Australian Governments has cast doubt on all projects."

The Winchester South project also includes:

  • mine infrastructure areas including workshops and a coal handling and preparation plant
  • rail loop and train load out facility
  • raw water pipeline connecting to the Eungella pipeline network
  • electricity transmission line from the existing power network
  • on-site temporary construction accommodation camp