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Pembroke Resources has received a mine approval from Australia’s environmental and government authorities for the Olive Downs coal project in Moranbah, Queensland.

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment provided Pembroke a clear pathway to progress the project’s mining leases.

The Olive Downs project will include an open-cut metallurgical coal mine, coal handling and preparation plant, 18-kilometre rail spur and on-site rail loop, raw water pipeline connecting to the Eungella network, private access roads, electricity transmission line and wastewater and sewage treatment plants.

This will inject around $5.5 billion in royalties to the Queensland Government and create about 1000 jobs across the region, with activities at Olive Downs approved for a mine life of 79 years.

Pembroke expects to produce up to 15 million tonnes per annum of saleable coal over its mine life based on 838 million tonnes of open cut joint ore reserves committee (JORC) of globally recognised coal.

“This is an exciting time for the company and the region’s wider community,” Pembroke chairman and chief executive officer Barry Tudor said.

“The EPBC approvals and the Environmental Authority (EA), which was granted last year, represent key milestones for the project.

“The next key milestone is securing the grant of the mining leases, which will enable us to commence construction. We anticipate these to be granted in coming months and look forward to construction and employment commencing shortly after this.”

Australia’s Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt welcomed this approval and the jobs and business it would create in and around Moranbah.

“The Olive Downs metallurgical coal mine will be part of our journey of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“It will add strength to the resources sector as it leads Australia’s economic recovery.”

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane added that the Olive Downs approval reinforced the role of the sector in the state’s post-COVID economic recovery.

“The resources sector injected $73 billion and supported 372,000 jobs across Queensland last financial year,” Macfarlane said.

“COVID-19 is impacting all parts of our lives and our economy. The announcement reinforces the role of the resources sector in Queensland’s recovery.”

Pembroke also plans to consult with the local community, including the Barada Barna traditional owners throughout the approvals process.

The company will contribute $100,000 annually to a regional environmental fund over the next 10 years, while protecting koala and sugar glider habitats as it builds the Olive Downs mine.