China Stone project

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The China Stone project was a proposed 38-million-tonnes-per-annum coal mine project being investigated by Macmines Austasia, a subsidiary of Meijin Energy (owned by billionaire Yao Junliang).[1] If approved, the project would be located approximately 230 kilometres southwest of Charters Towers in Queensland's Galillee Basin.

In 2019, without explanation, MacMines Austasia seemingly abandoned the China Stone mine plans (despite their project having been granted conditional approval from the Queensland Government the year prior).[2]

As of 2023, there have been no further public developments on the project and the mine is presumed cancelled.


The satellite image below shows the proposed site for the China Stone coal mine, 300 kilometres west of Mackay, in Pentland, Queensland, Australia.[3][4]

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The China Stone project was originally announced in October 2012, with the first draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) delivered to public consultation in September 2015. (The plans for the project include Australia’s first super-critical thermal power station, a three-unit power station that would be capable of producing 1,050 megawatts.)[5]

The EIS submission earned a request for more information from the Coordinator-General in November 2015 and, three extensions on the deadline for final documentation later, Macmines delivered.[5]

The project's EIS was approved in 2018 under strict conditions. Two of the aspects rejected by the The Coordinator-General were 1) to leave two voids unfilled when the mine finishes and 2) to be self-sufficient for electricity. The EIS states that the feasibility of the mine relies on the mine being able to create its own electricity. It is assumed that the coal power station units would be acquired from China. The Coordinator-General demands that the company consider renewable technology or other fuel sources, to power the site. If the electricity was from a coal power station on the site then Carbon Capture and Storage would be required. Macmines also said that refilling the last two voids on the site, covering 30% of the total area, would not be economically feasible, but the planning authority has ruled this out. There remains uncertainty about the viability of the project under these conditions.[6]

However, despite approval, MacMines seemingly abandoned its bid for a mining lease. When asked about their intentions, a MacMines representative only said, "The next steps with China Stone are under internal discussion. The company is not in a position to make any public statement at this time."[2] In 2019, ABC News Australia also reported that phone numbers of the MacMines office were disconnected and the company's Brisbane office had been vacant for months.[2]

According to the Queensland Government website, in November 2022, the Coordinator-General’s evaluation report on the EIS lapsed, and the mine plan is listed among projects that have been discontinued or are on hold.[7]

At this point, the project could be restarted, but some of the permissions would need to be granted afresh.

If operations start Macmines Austasia plans to export coal from Abbot Point Coal Terminal via Adani's planned rail line.[3] The lifetime of the mine is predicted to be 50 years.[8]

Coal from China Stone would predominantly be exported to China. China Huaneng Fuel, a subsidiary of China Huaneng Group, signed a long-term agreement to purchase up to 30 Mtpa of coal from the China Stone project in July 2011.[6]

The plans for the project include Australia’s first super-critical thermal power station, a three-unit power station that would be capable of producing 1,050 megawatts.[5]

Project Details

  • Operator: Macmines Austasia
  • Owner: Meijin Group
  • Location: 300 kilometres west of Mackay, Queensland, Australia.
  • GPS Coordinates: -21.166667, 145.750000 (exact)[4]
  • Status: Cancelled
  • Production Capacity: 38 Mt/year[8]
  • Total Resource: 10 billion tonnes[4]
  • Minable Reserves: 3.75 billion tonnes[6]
  • Coal Type: Thermal
  • Mine Size: 20,000 hectares[3]
  • Mine Type: Surface and underground(longwall)
  • Start Year: 2024[6]
  • Source of Financing:

Articles and resources


  1. Matt Chambers and Sarah-Jane Tasker, "China's biggest coke producer (Meijin) plans coal giant in Galilee Basin", The Australian, June 8, 2011.(Subscription required)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Laura Gartry, ""Mega mine next to Adani quietly put on hold, thousands of promised jobs in doubt", ABC News, 23 May 2019.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 ABC News, "China Stone thermal coal mine gets coordinator-general approval but conservationists unhappy" 24 November 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Macmines Austasia website "Tenement Details"accessed 17 September 2019.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Matthew Stevens, "China Stone Coal Mine Rolls Forward and Back on Australian State Go-Ahead", Caixin, 26 November 2018.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 NS Energy "China Stone Coal Project, Queensland"accessed 18 September 2019.
  7. China Stone Coal Project, Queensland Government website, accessed March 2023.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Macmines Austasia website "Project China Stone"accessed 17 September 2019.

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