Miner says Felton worth billions

The Darling Downs could experience a mining boom in the order of $20 billion.
The Darling Downs could experience a mining boom in the order of $20 billion.

THE Darling Downs would experience an economic boom in the order of $20 billion over a 30-year period if a major coal mining project is given a green light.

Ambre CTL Limited, which is a subsidiary of Ambre Energy, is hoping for approval on a $3.5 billion coal-to-liquids facility planned for the Felton area, about 20 kilometres south of Toowoomba.

Ambre Energy director Michael van Baarle yesterday revealed the economic projections for the project ahead of the company's briefings to a Chamber of Commerce breakfast today and further State Government briefings in Toowoomba later this week.

Mr van Baarle admitted the State Government's Strategic Cropping Land paper and the Federal Government's controversial mining tax had been recent setbacks for the Felton project, but he made it clear the company was not backing down after already spending $11 million developing the proposal.

“We like this area and we're here to stay, unless someone stops us,” he said.

Mr van Baarle said one of the biggest hurdles for the company would be to secure the $3.5 billion required to build the project.

“But we think eventually the stars will align and we will raise the capital we need,” he said.

The group said its facility would generate 940 mega litres a year of unleaded petrol, which is 22 per cent of Queensland's total yearly consumption, and 150 mega litres of LPG, which is 24 per cent of Queensland's consumption.

Mr van Baarle said 1880 jobs would be created over a two-year construction period with 530 ongoing jobs.

But Friends of Felton spokesman Rob McCreath yesterday reiterated his group's argument that food production in the area would be at risk if the project went ahead.

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