Coal rush on in central Queensland

China Stone coal mine passes EIS hurdle

Gas and coal developments across Australia.

Gas and coal developments across Australia.


A number of Galilee Basin mining companies are poised to follow Adani's lead after the resources giant announced it would plough ahead with its Carmichael coa...


A number of Galilee Basin mining companies are poised to follow Adani's lead after the resources giant announced it would plough ahead with its Carmichael coal project.

One such development is the China Stone Coal Project, about 190 kilometres west of Moranbah in central Queensland. 

The $6.7 billion China Stone coal mine is being pursued by MacMines Austasia and could generate more than 3000 jobs in the region, according to figures from the state development department.

Last month China Stone cleared a major regulatory hurdle when the state's Coordinator-General gave the green light to the project's environmental impact statement. 

Coordinator-General Barry Broe concluded that China Stone would deliver substantial benefits to the region, while all possible environmental impacts could be reasonably managed. 

“I conclude that there are significant local, regional and state benefits to be derived from the China Stone Coal project, and that environmental impacts can be acceptably managed, minimised or offset, through the implementation of the measures and proponent commitments outlined in the [environmental impact statement],” he wrote.

One of the more contentious environmental aspects of the China Stone proposal was the loss of land for grazing. 

MacMines' environmental impact statement for the project stated that just 45 per cent of land cleared for the 20,000 hectare mine would be suitable for grazing post-rehabilitation. 

"The EIS proposed that around 45 per cent of the cleared land would be rehabilitated post-mining to be suitable for grazing, which is the current primary land use in the area," read Mr Broe's report. 

"However, the EIS proposed that the remainder would have been be permanently lost post-mining. This is not an acceptable outcome."

Instead, Mr Broe set two stringent conditions setting out how MacMines must rehabilitate the land for agricultural and conservational use after the mine is exhausted. 

"Progressive rehabilitation, during the life of the mine, of all land used for the project must be undertaken," he wrote. 

"Backfilling the open-cut mine pits, which would otherwise have sterilised 3,400 ha, to at least a level above the pre-mining groundwater level to prevent ongoing groundwater impacts and enable the land to be used post-mining." 

Mr Broe also said more work was needed on the modelling of the mine’s impact on groundwater, a key concern of producers who are reliant on groundwater flows. 

“For groundwater bore users that may be affected by the project, the proponent must enter into legally binding arrangements to make good any impacts before mining commences,” the report read.

“The proponent is to monitor, measure and report on the groundwater impacts of this project combined with other Galilee Basin mines.” 

According to MacMines, the China Stone project will produce as much as 55 million tonnes of coal per year over about 50 years.


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