CHRIS LEES, Townsville Bulletin
January 6, 2020 7:12am
Longer term job security after plans lodged to expand Bowen Basin coal mine
A Coal mine that was bought for $1 in 2015 ago is planning to expand and with it secure the future of more than 200 jobs and extend the life of the mine.
Stanmore Coal has submitted an application to the Department of Environment and Energy to expand its Isaac Plains Complex Mine, near Moranbah.
The complex is made up of the original Isaac Plains Mine and Isaac Plains East mining areas.
Stanmore is planning to extend the Isaac Plains East mining area.
In its application Stanmore said the extension of the open cut pits would provide access to an additional 8.2 million tonnes of coking coal.
“There is demand for metallurgical coal products throughout international markets, resulting in the extension being deemed viable,” the documents said.
“The extension will allow for the continuation of approximately 220 full time operational and management jobs in the production of metallurgical coal for export.
“This will provide employment security and stability, with associated social and economic benefits in the Moranbah area.
“The extension will provide businesses within the local area and broader Central Queensland region increased goods and services supply opportunities.”
Currently Stanmore said its approved operation would last until 2024, if the extension is approved coal mining could continue until 2027-28.
If approved the extension would be a remarkable turnaround for the coal mine after its future was uncertain in 2014.
Stanmore Coal bought the mine in November 2015 for $1 after it stopped operating in September 2014, when it was placed in care and maintenance.
Mining restarted in 2016 and the first shipment of coal was exported in May the same year.
Isaac Regional Council Mayor Anne Baker welcomed the potential expansion because it had great potential to deliver significant economic and community benefits.
“This proposed expansion can deliver more investment, more jobs and more opportunities for our regional families,” she said.
“It’s great to see an existing site’s activities be extended by a further four years however, it’s also imperative that all our mining and industry companies are investing in our communities today and into the future.”
Cr Baker said the Isaac Plains Complex had been pivotal in the development of Moranbah over the years and as the regional township entered its 50th year.
“One thing that has not changed in 2020, and will not change, is our determination to see our strong and resilient communities, continue to be recognised and supported by the industry they drive,” she said.