The Galilee Basin stretches across 300 kilometres of Central Western Queensland. It has a thermal coal reserve the size of the UK and mining giants can’t wait to dig in and tap this underground El Dorado.
Mining companies will need to finance their own exploits as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reverses the Newman government’s decision to give these behemoth companies more hand-outs. This time around companies will not be able to rely upon taxpayer funding to do business. "This is free enterprise in the Galilee Basin and the companies need to make sure they have the financials required to commit to funding in the Galilee Basin", said Premier Palaszczuk.
GVK Hancock Coal, Adani and Waratah are all set to take advantage of this mining venture, they’re already projecting a yearly extraction of more than 200 million tonnes of coal! The coal would be heaved to Abbot Point for export via the proposed new massive rail network. In addition, a proposed new port infrastructure would turn Abbot Point into a coal shipping, super-highway.
State development minister Anthony Lynham feels this venture will bring a plethora of much needed jobs to the region. "It's vital to Queensland. It's 4000 jobs just from the two mines - the Adani mine and the GVK mine".
Local resident of Alpha (west of Rockhampton) and Alpha’s Tourist Information Centre Owner, Nola Halloran echoes these sentiments. “As far as I can see it is the only industry that is going to save these little country towns. There'll be so much employment and employment for everything, it's not just mining but it's all the contractors and everything that goes with it."
However, Green groups, local farmers and producers are worried about the impact such a massive mining venture will have on their properties and surrounding land with many citing water supply contamination and environmental damage as areas of grave concern. GVK Hancock’s, Josh Euler though, believes mining the area will not damage a thing. “We invested tens of millions of dollars on a very comprehensive suite of environmental assessments and encapsulated within that was a hydro geological assessment”.
In response to these issues of contention the Court has recommended the government either stop the mine from happening altogether, or impose strong environmental conditions. Negotiations are continuing for now.
GVK Hancock Coals, Josh Euler predicts this Queensland mining initiative will give the mining sector some much needed relief and help facilitate a slight recovery. “We really are looking at one of the most significant pieces of regional and economic development our state has seen for decades", he said.