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Australia's Queensland state approves A$1b coking coal mine

[MELBOURNE] Australia's Queensland state government on Tuesday said it had approved a new A$1 billion (S$952 million) coking coal mine, with construction to start next year.

The Olive Downs mine, owned by privately-held Pembroke Resources, will produce coking coal from the Bowen Basin. The commodity is in high demand for use in steel production in Asia.

"The mine is expected to create 1,000 operational jobs and 500 jobs during construction," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

The approval comes as the state Labor government has come under fire for prolonging a review of the controversial Adani thermal coal mine, and ahead of an election at the weekend.

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Thermal coal, used to create heat, is coming under greater threat from renewable energy, however coking coal, which can reach much higher temperatures, is integral to steel production.

The state government projects the Olive Downs mine will be worth A$10 billion to the state economy. It will produce up to 15 million tonnes of coking coal a year for export.

Subject to Commonwealth Government approval, Pembroke Resources expects to commence construction in 2020.