The move marks a step closer for the metallurgical coal mining project located 30km south-east of Moranbah in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, to being realized.

Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said that the proposed Winchester South facility is expected to create 950 jobs.

“This is a project that has the potential to boost the local economy and create well-paid jobs.

“It’s estimated this new mine could create around 500 jobs throughout the two-year construction period and up to 450 full-time jobs during operation.

“Since January 2015, almost 185,000 jobs have been created in Queensland, and our government will keep working to push that number higher.”

Upon commissioning, the project is expected to produce high quality metallurgical coal which is planned to be exported to the Asian market.

The project, subject to Queensland Government’s comprehensive mine approvals, involves construction of a new open-cut coal mine, a coal processing plant and a rail loop to connect with the existing Bowen Basin coal rail network.

The mine will have run-of-mine (ROM) production of approximately 15 million tons per annum of metallurgical coal, at peak.

Member for Mackay and Assistant Minister for State Development Julieanne Gilbert said: “This is good news for places like Moranbah, Dysart and Coppabella, and provides even more opportunities for regional Queensland.

“In January 2015, the unemployment rate in Mackay was 5.5 per cent. It’s now below 4 per cent.

“Still, we know there is more work to do. That’s why we continue to focus on job creation.”

For approximately 30 years, the project will facilitate the extraction of up to eight million tons of product coal annually.

The decision to declare coordinated project will help Winchester South project secure complex approvals following completion of rigorous environmental, social and economic impact assessments.

Construction on the project is scheduled to commence in 2021, with the first coal extraction planned for 2023.