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Hillalong Coal Project

Project summary

QUEENSLAND COAL EXPLORATION Pty. Ltd. (QCE) proposes to develop a new coal mine to be known as the Hillalong Coal Project. The proposed project would be located approximately 60 kilometers (km) northwest of Nebo and 170km west of Mackay by road, in the Isaac Regional Council area, in the Bowen Basin, Central Queensland. QCE is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shandong Energy Australia Pty Ltd, headquartered in Brisbane. Nearby coal mines include Newlands and Hail Creek.

QCE intends to apply for three mining lease applications: a mining lease over the area of Mineral Development Lease (MDL) 324; a mining lease for a new train load out facility, and mining lease for a new transport corridor connecting the mine and the train load out facility.

Two open-cut pits and two underground longwall mines are proposed that would produce approximately 4.2 million tonnes (Mt) per annum of run-of-mine coal. The run-of-mine coal would be processed on site in a Coal Handling and Preparation Plant (CHPP). Product coal would be hauled by truck along the transport corridor for approximately 20km to the train load out facility and loaded onto trains via a new rail loop connecting to the Hail Creek Branch Line.

Mine waste rock, including dry tailings from the CHPP and rock excavated from the open-cut mine that is not coal, would be disposed onsite. Disposal would comprise the placement of mine waste rock in the open-cut pits behind the working face and in a dedicated dump adjacent to each pit.

Land disturbed by mining would be rehabilitated as mining progresses. Infrastructure areas would be decommissioned, removed and rehabilitated once mining operations are complete. Mining activities are proposed for 17 years.  

Operations are expected to require 2.95 megalitres of water per day. Water supply will be principally sourced from an offsite supply via Sunwater.

A workforce of 400 would be required at the peak of construction works and 436 during operations. The majority of the workforce would be ‘drive-in / drive-out’ augmented by a local workforce. Part of the workforce would be housed at an accommodation camp proposed to be built within the mining lease area for the mine.

Environmental Impact Statement process

On 7 December 2012, an application was made by the proponent under section 71 of the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) for the preparation of a voluntary environmental impact statement (EIS). The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) approved the application under section 72 of the EP Act on 8 January 2013, allowing the proponent to voluntarily prepare an EIS for the project.

On 23 October 2012, the former Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (now the Department of the Environment and Energy) determined the proposed project to be a controlled action under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The controlling provisions are sections 18 and 18A (listed threatened species and communities), 20 and 20A (listed migratory species), and 24D and 24E (water resources in relation to large coal mining development).

The potential impacts of the project on the controlling provisions was assessed under the state’s EIS process which has been accredited for the assessment under the EPBC Act in accordance with the Bilateral Agreement between the Commonwealth of Australia and the State of Queensland (2012 ).

The process for the assessment of the project was as follows:

The EIS Assessment Report was issued to the proponent on 17 March 2017 in accordance with section 60 of the EP Act. The EIS process under Chapter 3, Part 1 of the EP Act is now completed.

Further information

For a copy of public documents please refer to the links below:

Current documents

EIS Assessment Report (PDF, 21M)

Final terms of reference (PDF, 494K)

Superseded documents

Public notice (s. 51 & 52 EP Act) (PDF, 413K)

Draft terms of reference (PDF, 480K)

For further information about the EIS process for the Hillalong Coal Project, please email the EIS coordinator: .

Last updated
22 March 2017