Business

Mine jobs on backburner

Aerial of Alpha Coal Project Test (12073).
Aerial of Alpha Coal Project Test (12073). Patrick Hamilton

A $6.6 BILLION mine planned for the Galilee Basin will start construction in late 2013, putting 4000 jobs on the backburner for at least 12 months.

The Kevin's Corner mine is being developed under the Hancock Galilee banner 360km south-west of Mackay but is entirely owned by Indian resources giant GVK.

The Alpha Coal project falls under the same name, although Gina Rinehart's Hancock Coal holds a 21% stake alongside GVK's majority share.

Both on its website and Environmental Impact Statement lodged in 2011, Hancock Galilee planned to start building Kevin's Corner before the end of this year, providing 2500 construction jobs plus a further 1500 once production began.

However, it is understood the Alpha project would start building early next year - delayed from an original start point in 2011 - and Kevin's would follow before the end of 2013.

Allowing for a 48-month construction period, coal exports could begin in 2017.

One of the delays is believed to stem from Hancock Galilee wanting Kevin's Corner and Alpha to be dealt with in parallel by the state government because they relied on the same infrastructure - a 495km rail line linking Central West Queensland to the Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen.

That did not eventuate.

For construction to begin in late 2013, the Coordinator-General must deliver a positive response to the company's EIS, lodged last year.

Hancock Galilee then delivered more information to both the state and Federal Department of Environment after a period of public consultation raised 600 questions.

Unlike the Alpha project, the Kevin's Corner proposal is unlikely to face the same federal checks after an agreement between the two levels of government was settled.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said he would only step in if the state failed to properly do its job of ensuring Kevin's Corner was environmentally sound.

A spokesman for the Queensland Government confirmed the project was being reviewed by the Coordinator-General.

He would not indicate when to expect a result.

Hancock Galilee did not return requests for comment before deadline.

KEVIN'S CORNER BY NUMBERS:

  • 6.6 - billion dollars to spend on the project
  • 900 - million tonnes of coal exported over its 30-year lifespan
  • 2500 - jobs created during construction
  • 1500 - jobs when mining starts
  • 48 - months to build once construction begins in late 2013.

Topics:  coal mining, construction, jobs


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