Coal expands at Taroom
COCKATOO Coal will open an office at Taroom this month to keep the community informed on their coal mine project.
A spokeswoman for Cockatoo Coal said it was close to finalising a lease agreement on a building and, once it was fitted out, it should be ready for opening early next month.
"We currently have a project office in Miles which employs 11 people and we will have two people manning our new office in Taroom."
Cockatoo Coal plans to establish a coal mine 7km southeast of the Taroom township.
If the project receives environmental approval, construction will start in 2013-15 with about 1000 jobs created during the construction phase and 500 permanent jobs when operational.
Cockatoo Coal is also working on opening a coal mine 15km south-east of Wandoan, called the Woori Project.
The project, if approved, will employ 400 people during construction, with a permanent workforce of 200.
A third coal reserve, Collingwood, between Taroom and Wandoan, is going through the environmental impact statement process.
If developed, this will engage a similar-sized workforce to the Taroom project.
The spokeswoman said they were expecting to lodge the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Woori project around June-July and the EIS for Taroom and Collingwood later this year.
"Ideally, we would like to see our employees, as much as we possibly can, to be locally based.
"We know not everybody is going to live locally, but we are working on a principle of 50/50.
"We are talking to council and town planners on what accommodation and additional housing stock would look like and the different options that will be available," the spokeswoman said.
Cockatoo Coal hosted a series of community meetings at Taroom, Wandoan and Gulugaba in mid-December to provide an update on the projects.
"The next series of forums will probably be in mid-February and will probably target more specific issues that arose from the December forums," the spokeswoman said.