A sample of projects in regional Queensland

Posted September 2, 2015

Chinchilla

Linc Energy is fighting accusations that it allowed toxic gas to leak from its underground coal gasification plant, causing workers to fall ill.

APN regional papers have reported on Linc’s legal battle with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection over accusations the plant wilfully and unlawfully caused serious environmental harm.

Meanwhile the ABC has run stories based on a secret government report indicating gas released by Linc’s activities had caused the permanent acidification of soil near the site and that experts also found concentrations of hydrogen in the soil at explosive levels and abnormal amounts of methane.

Linc Energy strongly rejects allegations that its demonstration facility caused serious environmental harm and says departmental investigations have been conducted in a misguided manner.

The proceedings have been set down for a committal hearing at the Dalby Magistrates Court in late October.

 

Weipa

The South of Embley bauxite project will go before the board for final approval by the end of 2015, Rio Tinto confirmed in its recent half-yearly report.

The report stated that required regulatory permits were in place and feasibility studies were progressing as planned for the $1.45 billion project, which would produce about 22.8 Mtpa.

The company’s bauxite production was up five per cent this year compared to the first half of 2014 and set a new first-half record, primarily driven by a strong performance at Weipa and Gove.

Rio Tinto’s share of bauxite, alumina and aluminium production for 2015 is expected to be 43 million tonnes, 8 million tonnes and 3.3 million tonnes, respectively.

 

Georgetown

Genex Power has appointed specialist power and water consulting firm Entura to deliver a bankable feasibility study for the Kidston Pumped Storage project.

Genex Power, which listed on the ASX in July, plans to transform the old Kidston gold mine into a large-scale hydroelectric power plant.

Entura said the abandoned mine site contained two large adjacent pits with the potential to act as the upper and lower reservoirs required for pumped storage hydropower generation.

In addition to the feasibility study, Entura will oversee subcontracted investigations, including geotechnical investigations and a bathymetric survey.

Genex says the proposed Kidston plant, with a nameplate generation capacity of 330 MW, is scheduled for completion in 2018.

 

Cloncurry

CuDeco says plans for the final stages of development of its Rocklands Group mine are on track after installation of a new management team.

Chairman Wayne McCrae, who discovered the deposit, recently resigned from his role to appease the company’s three key Chinese-based investors.

Newly appointed managing director Peter Hutchison said Rocklands was on target for production from the processing plant within months.

“An offtake agreement is already in place with our major shareholder, China Oceanwide International Investment, for 60 per cent of the planned copper concentrate production,” he said.

“We are working closely with principal contractor and shareholder, China’s Sinosteel Equipment & Engineering, to achieve the commissioning of the production plant in the latter part of this year.”

Mining has been reduced to a smaller shift working on a week on-week off roster to cut costs in the meantime, with more than 2.2 million tonnes of ore already stockpiled at the site.

 

Townsville

The Port of Townsville is investing $55 million to upgrade Berth 4 and double its capacity, enabling an extra two million tonnes of product to go through the port every year.

Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland Coralee O’Rourke said the Berth 4 upgrade would create about 100 jobs during construction.

“The investment will enable access for larger vessels and also deliver a 20 per cent increase in total tonnage throughput,” she said.

A landside cargo handling area would also be built and the intermodal transfer of cargo for road and rail enhanced, she said.

 

Dalby

Peabody Energy has entered into a sales agreement with Sekitan Resources, a subsidiary of Exergen, for Wilkie Creek mine and associated assets.

Peabody said the deal had an aggregate value for the company of up to $US75 million including up to $20 million cash and assumption of liabilities totalling $55 million.

The sale is expected to be finalised in the third quarter of 2015, subject to satisfaction of certain conditions.

Peabody purchased Wilkie Creek in 2002, and the mine ceased operations in 2013.

In its most recent quarterly report, Peabody Energy reported completing about $35 million of non-core asset sales in the U.S. and Australia in recent months.

“The company is aggressively reviewing additional portfolio optimisation opportunities, and will continue to increase divestment actions in the second half of 2015 through sales of non-core reserves, surface lands and other properties,” it said.

 

Isaac region

The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been released for the proposed $6.7 billion China Stone coal project in the northern Galilee Basin.

Queensland State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the MacMines Austasia project would provide up to 3900 jobs during the proposed two-year construction phase and up to 3400 operational positions.

“The China Stone coal project involves the construction and operation of a greenfield open-pit and underground thermal coal mine within a 20,000ha mining lease area,” he said.

“The project could realise significant economic and social benefits on a regional, state and national scale with the capacity to produce up to 38 million tonnes per annum of product coal.”

 

Toowoomba

The Wagners Group says it is in talks to construct three new airports in Australia and overseas, The Chronicle reports.

Wagners chairman John Wagner told the newspaper that confidential negotiations were progressing on the new airports.

The family-owned company was behind the development of the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, which was built in 18 months and began operating regular public flights in November.

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