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Hillalong Coal Project

shandong energy australia pty ltd nebo, central queensland
CDM Smith prepares Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Hillalong Coal Project

CDM Smith has been working with Queens­land Coal Ex­plo­ration (QCE), who is a wholly owned sub­sidiary of Shandong Energy Aus­tralia Pty Ltd. Shandong Energy Group is among the seven largest Chinese coal com­pa­nies. They have invested ap­prox­i­mately AUD $250 million in Queens­land and it is expected that tens of millions of dollars will continue to be invested with in the next 5 to 10 years.

QCE proposes to develop a new open-cut and un­der­ground coal mine to be known as the Hilla­long Coal Project (the Project). Located near Nebo, west of Mackay in Central Queens­land, QCE is seeking ap­provals from both the Com­mon­wealth and Queens­land Gov­ern­ments to develop the Project.

If approved, QCE would commit to sub­stan­tial capital in­vest­ment to develop the Hilla­long Coal Project which would provide op­por­tu­ni­ties for em­ploy­ment and busi­nesses, and generate gov­ern­ment and export revenues. 

The open cut and un­der­ground coal mine includes a 20km haul road and rail con­nec­tion facility and is in close prox­im­ity to several large pro­tected areas re­quir­ing sub­stan­tial en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment con­sid­er­a­tions in order to meet State and Com­mon­wealth gov­ern­ment ex­pec­ta­tions and leg­isla­tive re­quire­ments.

CDM Smith has been working with QCE to prepare an En­vi­ron­men­tal Impact State­ment (EIS) as is required as part of the Project's approval process under the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Act 1994 and En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion and Bio­di­ver­sity Con­ser­va­tion Act 1999 (Cth) re­spec­tively.

The ob­jec­tives of the EIS process are to:

  • Describe the en­vi­ron­ment and its values, and assess the likely impacts of the Project on these;
  • Provide in­ter­ested and affected parties with com­pre­hen­sive un­der­stand­ing of the Project, its impacts and their man­age­ment;
  • Enable the Com­mon­wealth and Queens­land Gov­ern­ments to make informed approval de­ci­sions about the Project re­spec­tively; and
  • Provide a basis to underpin QCE's com­mit­ments to stake­hold­ers about the Project.

CDM Smith carried out onsite seasonal fauna and flora surveys, soil sampling and analysis, ground­wa­ter mod­el­ling and impact analyses based onsite record­ings, and surface water flow mod­el­ling. The ecology surveys required special focus on de­tect­ing the presence of threat­ened species. Visual impact as­sess­ments were carried out using our in-house GIS analyst team and we worked with spe­cial­ists on an onsite as­sess­ment and re­port­ing of cultural heritage values, air quality and noise as­sess­ments in­clud­ing man­age­ment rec­om­men­da­tions.

Baseline soil con­ser­va­tion, GQAL and SCL survey works were also required as part of un­der­tak­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ments with field work done over a Mine Lease Area (MLA) of ap­prox­i­mately 3,000 hectares and included hand augering to a depth of 1.5m to classify agri­cul­tural land uses iden­ti­fied and provide samples for lab­o­ra­tory analysis for soil con­ser­va­tion man­age­ment. 

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