The awarding of leases to Glencore for the $7 billion Wandoan Coal project has the greenies army polishing up the protest placards.
The project would spark about 1300 jobs in construction and 800 in operation.
Glencore has committed to development after spending about $400 million on the project already but is not revealing timing at this stage.
The company says market conditions were not yet right for the Wandoan mine, but the industry expects they would be in a few years.
“Glencore is taking a responsible approach and will only bring on new large-scale production volumes if we are confident that market conditions support such a development.”
Observers however say triggers for the mine’s commencement are emerging, with the crucial Nathan Dam getting environmental approval from the Federal Government and prices for thermal coal bouncing around the $US95-a-tonne mark.