Stanmore Coal's dollar dazzler begins operations
Following its purchase by Stanmore Coal for just o...
Isaac Plains, the Queensland mine bought by Stanmore Coal in 2015, has officially been opened today.
Following its purchase by Stanmore Coal for just one dollar,dubbed the “dollar dazzler”, the coal mine will produce 1.1million tonnes per annum of coking coal for export to Asian steel mills.
Queensland Resources council chief executive Michael Roche believes the opening of the mine represents a bright spot in a dark time for the industry with low commodity prices.
“The official opening is big news for the Bowen Basin in what have been gloomier times for the once becoming sector,” he said.
The mine will generate up to $7million annually into state royalties, generated through the Asian steel mill exports. The Queensland government had received $2.1billion in royalties in the last financial year, something that Mr Roche says is a testament to the resources sector and its contribution to the economy.
“That $2.1billion was the equivalent of funding the salaries of 35,000 teachers, 30,000 nurses or about 32,000 police officers. Or in the case of Stanmore Coal, that $7million [injected into the economy] could annual fund about 100 nurses, 104 police or 118 teachers,” he said.
The government would have collected zero royalties from closed mines and from projects that are cancelled, but the ‘dollar dazzler’ will significantly contribute to the state via the royalties.
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Zimbabwe targets £8.8bn mining industry by 2023
Zimbabwe’s government plans to fast-track exploration, evaluation and digitalisation of selected reserved mining areas under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development as part of wider measures to achieve a £8.8 billion mining industry by 2023, according to a senior government minister.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said other plans include stopping the issuance of special grants in the reserved areas under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development until the exploration and evaluation is complete and a robust value addition program for diamonds is implemented.
Mutsvangwa was speaking at a post-cabinet media briefing on December 15.
She adds that the issuance and renewal of special grants for energy should also be based on the financial and technical capacity to value add all types of coal, as well as for ideal exploration of Coal Bed Methane.
For renewal of special grants, consideration should take into account the period the Special Grant has been held as well as plans with milestones for value addition of the special grant, Mutsvangwa says. She adds that the Zimbabwean government expects gold to drive the mining sector in order to achieve the ambitious target, with the precious metal expected to contribute approximately £2.96 billion to the overall target.
Mining is one of Zimbabwe’s major contributors to its economy, alongside agriculture, which is the mainstay. The mining sector accounted for more than 60 percent of the country’s foreign currency receipts in 2019, and contributed around 16 percent to national Gross Domestic Product, the Chamber of Mines says.
The country’s mining industry is focused on a diverse range of small to medium mining operations. The most important minerals produced in Zimbabwe include gold, asbestos, chromite, coal and base metals.
Zimbabwe expects its economy to expand by 7.4 percent in 2021 from a projected contraction of 4.5 percent this year, due to the effects of drought and the COVID-19 global pandemic.
When presenting the 2021 National Budget in November this year, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, said that the mining sector is projected to rebound by 11 percent next year after surviving a COVID-19 induced shock that saw the sector contract by 4.7 percent in 2020. In September, mining bans in national parks were introduced, according to news agencies.
He added that the National Budget would allocate £1 billion towards the operations of the ministry for planning, promotion and exploration, data capturing, and automation, among other key mining processes.
Other factors necessary for the achievement of the £8.8 billion target include a stable macroeconomic environment, policy consistency, and availability of long-term capital to fund mining projects along the entire mineral value chain, the minister said.
Stopping "illicit financial flows" from gold smuggling is another key issue to address, according to media reports.