12 July, 2021
Mine needs to dig deep for our jobs and communities
LOCAL Jobs. Local procurement opportunities. Local community investment. It’s a simple mandate, and it is what’s now being called for following the announcement this week that Pembroke Resources has secured a $175 million loan provision for its proposed Olive Downs project.
LOCAL Jobs. Local procurement opportunities. Local community investment.
It’s a simple mandate, and it is what’s now being called for following the announcement this week that Pembroke Resources has secured a $175 million loan provision for its proposed Olive Downs project.
The finance provision was approved by the board of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) this week and comes with a tenor of 10 years, for the development of what’s officially known as the Olive Downs Steelmaking Coal Complex.
Work on the construction of the mine is expected to start this year.
Olive Downs has an expected lifespan of more than 80 years, with production expected to reach 15million tonnes per annum; with initial operation at a rate of 4.5Mtpa.
Olive Downs will tap into what is expected to be a reserve of 514M tonnes of high-quality steelmaking coal and is strategically located in the Bowen Basin in Central Queensland, one of the world’s leading steelmaking coal regions.
Pembroke Resources Chairman and CEO Barry Tudor said the operation would contribute between 500 and 700 jobs in the construction phase of the project, and up to 1000 jobs at peak operation. He said benefits to the Queensland economy and the Central Queensland region were expected to be significant, with the project tipped to contribute more than $10 billion over the life of mine.
The big question on the lips of business people and communities throughout the Mackay and Isaac regions, though, is will it be a local or FIFO/DIDO workforce?
Moranbah Plumbing director Peter Harrison said the Olive Downs Coal mine would be beneficial for his business but cited skills shortages as a roadblock to expansion and business growth.
“It is a benefit for anybody around here, because of the housing that would be put in here. Being a plumber, that pushes us into the direction of building new houses,” Mr Harrison said.
“I can’t expand my business right now because of a lack of tradesmen here in Moranbah.”
Mr Harrison said it would also be important for workers to live in communities located in the immediate footprint of the mine because those workers would spend their money in the towns they live in and with local businesses.
“I think it should be locals employed. Fly in Fly out workers don’t spend their money here. They save their money and then return home.”
Dysart Bakery owner Dhaval Badel had a similar view. He said the new mine would benefit his business at it would drive more workers to buy locally.
“We would be able to put on more workers, as a result of the increased work,” Mr Badel said. “All the mine workers would come in and buy bread here.”
He said this would result in an increase in competition, which would benefit customers.
Greater Whitsunday Alliance (GW3) chief executive Kylie Porter said it was a reasonable expectation for the community to have of Olive Downs that there would be a high level of local procurement and for regional businesses in the Mackay, Isaac and Whitsunday regions to be preferred businesses over those located in other areas.