Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Jeff Seeney

    Green light for major Cape mine

    Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
    The Honourable Jeff Seeney

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Green light for major Cape mine

    The Queensland Coordinator-General today gave the green light to Rio Tinto’s $1.45 billion South of the Embley bauxite mining extension on Cape York.

    Rio Tinto’s proposal will extend the life of bauxite mining near Weipa for another 40 years.

    RTA Weipa Pty Ltd (RTAW) proposes to expand its mining operations with a new open-cut bauxite mine, processing facilities, barge and ferry terminals and a new port and stockpile facility near Boyd Point, south of Weipa.
    It can proceed subject to strict development and operating conditions set by the Coordinator-General.
    Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the Coordinator-General’s evaluation and approval of the project showed the new LNP Government’s determination to expedite major projects which could provide great economic benefits to the state.
    “This decision is a good example of the State Government’s commitment to getting the economy of Queensland moving again,” Mr Seeney said.
    “Unfortunately it is also an example of delays and inefficiencies generated by the Federal Government’s duplication of the approvals process.
    “In fact, this important additional wealth generator for Queensland could face another year or more trapped in federal red-and-green tape,” Mr Seeney said.
    The Deputy Premier said the Newman Government was extremely disappointed that the Federal Labor Government had virtually taken the federal approval process back to square one after conservation groups had grossly misrepresented the number of shipping movements associated with the South of Embley project through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
    The shipping movements are now subject to a new, separate, federally-required Environmental Impact Statement for which the Federal Environment Minister is still considering guidelines.
    “The state and federal approval process began in 2008 and while Queensland had completed it, the Federal Government imposed this delay on highly spurious grounds – a delay which threatens considerable cost to the company and the state economy.”
    “This comes at a time when the Newman Government is seeking to dramatically streamline processes and move projects through key approvals stages much faster than in the past.”
    Mr Seeney said if the project proceeded to construction, the South of Embley mine would provide 950 jobs during construction and up to 1,275 ongoing operational jobs with initial production of 22.5 million tonnes per annum with a potential to increase to 50 million tonnes.
    Queensland Coordinator-General Barry Broe said his conditional approval of the project came after more than three years of rigorous environmental assessments and public consultation.

    “I have imposed conditions which establish clear principles and procedures on matters including post-mining land use and rehabilitation, local and indigenous employment, training and skills development and mitigation of potential social impacts of the mine.
    Other conditions include the need to minimise impacts on marine mega-fauna and preservation of high-value ecosystems.”

    Potential impacts on commercial and recreational fisheries must also be mitigated.
    The Coordinator-General’s report can be accessed at:

    Media Contact: John Wiseman – 0409 791 281