Vitrinite's coal mine rouses Australian sustainability woes

Vitrinite, a coal-focused mining company, gets the go-ahead for its metallurgical Vulcan mine complex worth US$160mn located in Queensland, Australia

Getting the green light for its latest project is Vitrinite, with its sights set firmly on expanding its production of coal and increasing its operational portfolio. The Australian coal company is gearing up to develop its US$160mn metallurgical Vulcan mine complex in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, with the lease opening up the first four years of the 15-year mine life and creating approximately 150 job opportunities. 

Coal ambitions get a booster through the green-lit multi-million deal

“Having the Vulcan mining lease approved for Vitrinite is a huge milestone for our company,” says Nick Williams, Founder and Managing Director of Vitrinite. “Going from a greenfield to a producing mine is a huge feat for any company and to do it in the time we’ve done it is an amazing feat and we’re very excited.”

In theory, the Vulcan mine holds the potential to deliver around two million tonnes of coal a year, providing Vitrinite with the exciting opportunity to achieve successful operational advancements and growth in production.

“The Vitrinite family are looking forward to supplying 150 jobs to the local people,” continues Williams. “We’re also excited about providing opportunities for local businesses.”

Sustainability at the top of the agenda despite investments into fossil fuels

But with all eyes in the mining industry turning towards more sustainable alternatives to the heavily polluting fossil fuels currently giving the sector a bad name, it throws into question whether coal will continue to be in demand for much longer. 

Williams is keen to point out that the environment is always on the company’s agenda and that, despite its priority output, Vitrinite is conscious of coal’s impact on sustainability goals. 

“We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously. We are adopting world-class, innovative technologies to progressively rehabilitate our pit beyond our statutory requirements.”

Ian Macfarlane, Chief Executive of Queensland Resources Council, mirrors a similar view regarding the prioritisation of sustainability, and the importance of ensuring the surrounding environment is well protected. 

“Queensland is widely regarded as having the strictest environmental regulations in the world, which our industry is fully committed to complying with, along with our determination to lower carbon emissions and implement sustainable mining practices.

“The Vulcan complex mine project is also the first resources project in Queensland to have its Progressive Rehabilitation and Closure Plan approved under new legislation introduced in 2019.

“A PRCP commits mine operators to progressively rehabilitating land while the mine is operating and returning the land to its pre-mining use at the end of the project, which in this case is low-intensity cattle grazing.”

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