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South32 will assume operational control of the Eagle Downs metallurgical coal project in Queensland’s Bowen Basin after signing a deal with BaoWu Steel Group subsidiary Aquila Resources.

South32, which owns north-west Queensland’s Cannington mine, will acquire a 50 per cent interest in the project.

The deal includes an upfront payment of about $US106 million upon completion of the acquisition and a deferred payment of
$US27 million due three years after completion.

A coal price linked production royalty will also be payable and is capped at $US80 million.

Eagle Downs is a large, high quality and fully permitted metallurgical coal development project located about 25km south-east of  Moranbah and down dip of BMA’s Peak Downs mine.

The project was placed under care and maintenance in late 2015 after initial development work that delivered site
infrastructure including water supply and high voltage systems, office buildings and water and sediment dams.

Dual 2km drifts are also about 40 per cent complete.
South32 chief executive officer Graham Kerr said, “We have a long-standing relationship with BaoWu as a supplier of manganese ore and alloy. We are very pleased to be able to further strengthen this relationship by assuming operatorship of Eagle Downs.”

Mr Kerr said the high-quality metallurgical coal project had the benefits of prior investment, which opened the way for accelerated
development to deliver significant value to South32 and Aquila.

Prior work undertaken by Aquila has indicated that Eagle Downs has the potential to export 4.5Mtpa of coal (on average) from one longwall over the first 10 years of full production.

Following completion of the acquisition and assumption of operatorship (expected in early 2019), South32 proposes to
commence a final feasibility study which will seek to optimise the mine’s design and development.

The company said today that subject to the findings of that study and requisite approvals, South32 in partnership with Aquila
would construct a multi-seam underground longwall metallurgical coal mine and processing plant with a dedicated rail spur and train load-out facility.

South32 buys into Eagle Downs coal project
New Century Resources has awarded a $110 million long-term services contract to Sedgman for the operation and maintenance of the Century processing plant, pipeline and port facilities.

Sedgman is already involved in the restart of operations at the Century zinc mine in Queensland's lower gulf region, with about 100 Sedgman staff and subcontractors on site to refurbish and commission plant and port facilities.

In November 2017 Sedgman provided the Restart Feasibility Study for the Century mine and subsequently commenced engineering, procurement and operational readiness activities.

New Century Resources says the restart program is on track for operations to begin in the third quarter of 2018, targeting first production in August 2018.

“We have been working with New Century Resources at the Century Mine since 2017, first on the feasibility study and then on refurbishment and reconfiguration," Sedgman managing director Grant Fraser said.

"I’m pleased that we are building on this earlier involvement, and showcasing our full project life cycle delivery capability, by adding operation and maintenance services to our works at the site.”

The operations and maintenance contract is for an initial period of five years, with an option to extend at New Century’s election.

Sedgman wins $110m Century contract
New owners Copper Mountain Mining Corporation are pouring $5 million into exploration at their Cloncurry copper project, 95km north-east of Mount Isa.

Copper Mountain took control of the project when it completed acquisition of Altona Mining last month.

It said planned work programs would include follow-up drilling on discoveries made in 2017, testing of new targets and supporting works to further the full feasibility study under way for the proposed Eva Copper Mine.

Copper Mountain’s flagship asset is the Copper Mountain mine located in southern British Columbia, Canada.

The Altona acquisition included the permitted Eva copper development project and a 397,000ha  exploration tenement portfolio in the North West Minerals Province.

New owners pour $5m into Cloncurry project
The Queensland Government has declared a priority development area on 170ha within the Mackay CBD, paving the way for a raft  of revitalisation projects.

State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick said the Mackay Waterfront PDA declaration would enable Mackay Regional Council to pursue its plan to transform the city’s waterfronts and CBD.

“This declaration will be a catalyst to stimulate the Mackay region’s economy, create jobs, increase investor confidence, and deliver more community infrastructure and public facilities,” Mr Dick said.

“Mackay Regional Council is to be congratulated on the way it has approached this important city-shaping project, particularly the way it has engaged with its ratepayers and brought the community along on this journey."

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said the PDA declaration was wonderful news for the city.
“I am very happy that the State Government has been so responsive to the council’s calls for this PDA,” Cr Williamson said.

“It spans about 172ha including the southern side of the Pioneer River, the CBD, and water frontage along Binnington Esplanade (Town Beach), and consists of five distinct precincts – Mackay City Centre, Riverside, Enterprise, Queens Park and Beachside.

“Each precinct offers unique attributes and redevelopment opportunities specific to their location and will be redeveloped progressively.”

The community played a significant role in designing the various precincts within the PDA and will have a further opportunity to comment once the proposed development scheme is publicly notified in late-2018.

The PDA takes effect from Friday, May 25.

Declaration paves way for Mackay makeover
Neoen’s planned green power hub at Kaban, 80km south-west of Cairns, has received State development approval.

State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick said the $300 million wind farm project would bring substantial investment to the region and was expected to create around 150 jobs during construction.

“The proposed development at Kaban is for a wind farm for up to 29 turbines and additional infrastructure, including a substation and battery storage facility,” Mr Dick said.

“This means jobs for the region over the 12-month estimated construction period and more clean energy for the region to tap into.

“The green power hub, which will incorporate the wind farm, is a $300 million project, planned to operate for at least 30 years and generate enough power to supply 57,000 homes.”

Total generation capacity is expected to be up to 160MW.

Mr Dick said the turbines would have a maximum height of 240m.

“Neoen worked closely with the department to assess acoustic impacts on nearby houses, impacts on fauna, native vegetation clearing and traffic impacts,” he said.

The Kaban hub is among more than two dozen large-scale renewable energy projects currently committed or under construction throughout Queensland, including the recently announced $200 million Lakeland wind farm.

Green light for $300m FNQ wind farm

Coal will cover Queensland's planned infrastructure spending boost, with record coal royalties of $3.7 billion forecast this financial year, says the Queensland Resources Council.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the latest projection of $3.7 billion - a $536 million increase on the State Government’s pre-Christmas estimate – would allow the government to increase infrastructure spending by $1.4 billion to $11.5 billion in 2018-19, and a total of $45 billion in infrastructure over four years.

"Projects like Convention Centre expansion in Cairns, the North Queensland Stadium in Townsville, the M1 in south-east Queensland will be built and funded by coal,” Mr Macfarlane said.

Mr Macfarlane said the increased projection was due to the strong international demand for metallurgical coal and the stable prices for both metallurgical and thermal coal from Queensland.

“This result would make 2017-18 a record 12 months for coal royalties in Queensland. The previous record was $3.4 billion in 2016-17,” he said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad issued a joint press statement this week promising that the upcoming Budget would deliver $45 billion of infrastructure over the next four years.

“That’s a big number, with investment up $2 billion on last year’s Budget and almost five times what the Federal Government is investing in our state’s infrastructure," Ms Palaszczuk said.

“This massive spend will drive our economy, supporting 38,000 Queensland jobs every year."

In 2018–19 alone, the Queensland Government has undertaken to deliver a $11.5 billion capital program. This would be a $1.4 billion increase on the allocation for 2017-18.

Coal props up Budget infrastructure pledge