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Image: New Hope Group

New Hope Group forecasts that 500 jobs could be created, and a further 125 jobs saved, if the New Acland coal mine in Queensland finally wins a stage three approval.

New Acland made 150 workers redundant in September following legal disputes that had delayed the mine’s stage 3 approval.

To date, 175 employees have been made redundant at the New Acland coal mine and another 23 workers also lost their jobs at the corporate office and the Brisbane port facility.

According to the company’s financial results for the 2020 financial year, New Acland’s coal production was down 33 per cent from 2019 production at 2.8 million tonnes.

Stage 2 operations at the mine will continue to wind down, as New Acland has warned that the remaining workforce will lose their jobs in the next 12 months if stage 3 approvals continue to be stalled.

“The company remains focused on securing all necessary approvals for Acland stage 3 to target continuity of operations and employment for the workforce and contractors who rely upon the operation to support their families,” New Acland stated.

New Hope recorded an increase to its overall coal production of 11.3 million tonnes and coal sales of 11.5 million tonnes despite delays in New Acland expansion, COVID-19 and a volatile coal market.

This was largely driven by New Hope’s interest in the Bengalla joint venture for the Bengalla thermal coal mine in New South Wales.

However, its revenue for the full year ending 31 July 2020 fell 17 per cent to $1.08 billion.

New Hope expects coal markets to remain volatile, but strong demand for thermal coal from Asia to bolster the company’s business.