By Campbell Gellie
May 10, 2017 - A Japanese steel company has announced it will create 350 construction jobs and 545 ongoing jobs at a Bowen Basin mine in Australia.
JFE Steel announced Monday it would go ahead with its $1.76 billion joint venture with QCoal in Byerwen.
The announcement comes after the State Government granted the mining leases to Byerwen Coal Pty Ltd to develop two tenements in the project.
The mine, located 20km west of Glenden and 140km west of Mackay, is expected to primarily produce hard coking coal and produce 10 million tonnes a year.
"The size of the mine and favourable conditions for large-scale open-cut mining will help to ensure a cost-competitive product," the company's announcement reads.
"Early stage development will be carried out with the aim to begin shipping coal in early 2018."
Minister of infrastructure Anthony Lynham said it was good news for Nebo, Moranbah, Collinsville and the wider region.
"The Byerwen mine project will generate 350 construction jobs at peak, followed by up to 545 ongoing jobs once this coking and thermal mine is fully operational," Dr. Lynham said.
The proposed Byerwen mine is forecast to yield up to 10 million tonnes of high-quality coking coal and thermal coal annually from open-cut operations 20km west of Glenden. Coal will be railed to Abbot Point Coal Terminal for export.
Construction has already started; in January workers were already at the site.
Which according to Phylicia Rolfe is the only reason she has a job at the Glenden Motel.
She said there were about 30 construction workers staying at the motel and if they weren't there it would leave only about 4-5 other guests.
The workers have breakfast at the motel, are provided lunch and given dinner at the Glenden Pub, which is a good boost for its business too, Phylicia said.
"It's great news because the town is very quiet," she said.
"We're the only town close to that mine and without it there wouldn't be much here."
Queensland Resources Council deputy chief executive Judy Bertram said the approval of the mining leases was "a huge shot in the arm" for the local economy.
"This is a big dose of export growth for Queensland's premium coking coal, which is why Japan's JFE Steel is investing in the project," she said.
"This mine will also be a significant economic contributor to local communities and the wider Queensland economy."
QRC's current data shows that in 2015-16, the state's coal industry's total contribution of $32.7 billion, supported more than 180,000 jobs. The coal industry spent $11.3 billion in Queensland on more than 10,700 local businesses and almost 500 community organisations.
At last week's spot prices of $224 US, at full production, this project alone would generate more than $450 million dollars extra a year in royalties for the Queensland Government that pays for nurses, doctors and teachers as well as important infrastructure.