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SOURCE: Bloomberg

DATE: June 11, 2020

SNIP: A giant Glencore Plc coal project in Australia has been fast-tracked as the nation turns to its vast natural resources to lift the economy out of its first recession in almost three decades.

The A$1.5 billion ($1 billion) Valeria mine in Queensland has been designated a “coordinated project”, which the state said Friday would help to get new jobs happening quicker. That comes as the national government stands firm in the face of calls at home and abroad to shift away from the highly polluting fuel.

“This new mine has the potential to create hundreds of new jobs as Queensland recovers from the extraordinary shock of the global coronavirus pandemic,” state Treasurer Cameron Dick said. “Coal mining has a long history in Queensland and will continue to be a major industry for many years to come.”

The coal industry brings in around A$70 billion in annual export revenue. The government is betting on strong consumption of the fuel in Asia.

Glencore’s proposed mine in the state’s Bowen Basin coal heartland will produce around 20 million tons a year of thermal and metallurgical coal, equal to about 4% of the nation’s output. That’s double the size of Adani’s controversial Carmichael project, also in Queensland, which has been targeted by climate activists for potentially opening up a new region to coal mining.

Pembroke Resources Pty’s 15-million-ton-a-year Olive Downs met coal project, also in the Bowen Basin, is proceeding with the state’s backing after receiving environmental approval last month. Queensland is also encouraging the development of new gas resources, with a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell Plc and PetroChina Co. in April making an investment decision to proceed with their Surat Gas project.