Eagle Downs Coal Project

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Eagle Downs Coal Project is a cancelled coal mine in Moranbah, Queensland, Australia.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Mine Name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Eagle Downs Coal Project Moranbah, Queensland, Australia -22.189318, 148.204249 (exact)

The map below shows the exact location of the coal mine:

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Project Details

Table 2: Project status

Status Status Detail Project Type Project Phase Opening Year Closing Year
Cancelled Construction New Stage 1 2025

Table 3: Operation details

Note: The asterisk (*) signifies that the value is a GEM estimated figure.
Capacity (Mtpa) Production (Mtpa) Year of Production Mine Type Mining Method Mine Size (km2) Mine Depth (m) Workforce Size
4.5 Underground Longwall 45 500* 500

Table 4: Coal resources and destination

Total Reserves (Mt) Year of Total Reserves Recorded Total Resources (Mt) Coalfield Coal Type Coal Grade Primary Consumer/ Destination
1140 Bowen Bituminous Met Wiggins Island Coal Terminal

Table 5: Ownership and parent company

Owner Parent Company Headquarters
Aquila; South33 China BaoWu Steel Group [50%]; South32 [50%] China, Australia


Table 6: Project status

* Added capacity of a coal mine refers to the enhancement in the mine's production capabilities beyond its initial production capacity.
Status Status Detail Project Type Project Phase Added Capacity (Mtpa)* Start Year
Cancelled Permitted Expansion Stage 2 3.5 2025

Note: The above section was automatically generated and is based on data from the GEM April 2024 Global Coal Mine Tracker dataset.


The Eagle Downs Coal Project (formerly known as Peak Downs East underground) is an underground coal mine proposed by Aquila Resources and South32. The project is located 25km south east of Moranbah in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, Australia.[1] 

In January 2021, development was put on hold and South32 expressed interest in selling its 50% stake because it claimed the project’s expected returns did not “support the allocation of capital”.[2]

As of 2023, project development remains stagnant, and South32 still hasn't found a buyer for the Eagle Downs coal project, yet continues to investigate the potential divestment of their interest in Eagle Downs.[3][4] As there have been no new project developments for 2 years, the project is considered cancelled. Originally, the Eagle Downs coal mining project was proposed by Bowen Central Coal Joint Venture which itself comprises a partnership between Bowen Central Coal (BCC)(50 percent) and Aquila Coal (50 percent). Bowen Central Coal is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vale Australia Holdings and Aquila Coal a wholly owned subsidiary of Aquila Resources.[5] EDCM, a company owned and controlled by BCC and Aquila, was appointed by them to have the day-to-day management of the joint venture.[6]

In 2010 the project, had a notional commissioning date of 2012, was projected to produce 4.6 million tonnes of coking coal per year. The project is projected to cost $988 million to construct.[7] Eagle Downs Coal was granted its coal mining lease in August 2011.[5]

A Definitive Feasibility Study, which was completed in 2011.[1]

In 2011 there was a dispute between Aquila and Bowen Central Coal. Bowen Central Coal wanted to buy out Aquila, following disputes over which port to use and the timings of the project.[8] It was settled in 2014, without a buyout.[9]

The box-cut excavation and the mine portal area were completed in 2013.[10] Later the same year weak coal price delayed the construction.[11]

In December 2013 mining contractor WDS Limited was awarded a two year contract to construct two, two kilometres long drifts into the coal seam from the surface.[5]

The development was in "care and maintenance" in January 2017.[12]

In September 2018, South32 bought 50% of the project from Vale and assumed operatorship of the Project,[13] The transaction was completed for a total upfront payment of US$106 million, a deferred payment of US$27 million and a coal price-linked production royalty capped at US$80 million.[14]

The EIS process was completed prior to the 19th July 2019.[15]

The Australian Financial Review reported in May 2020 that South32 is scheduled to make an investment decision on the project before the end of the year but that coded indications from the company in recent months suggest that this will be delayed.[16]

Initially the project would include one longwall mine, however, a proposal is being made to install a second longwall, which will boost production to 8 Mtpa.[10] In time the company plans to increase this to access three coal seams.[5]There is thought to be around 50 years of coal in the mine.[17]


In September 2018 the construction of the mine access was approximately 40% complete. The access consists of the development of two drifts, each 2km long down to the coal seam.[13] One drift will be used for the transportation of men and for material, while the other will be used for the mine drift conveyor.[10] Ore from the conveyor drift portal would be transported by an overland conveyor to an on-site 1,100 tonnes per hour capacity coal handling and preparation plant, to be crushed, sized and washed.[10]

The processed coal will be transported to the Wiggins Island Coal Terminal by rail for export. Aquila has been allocated 1.6Mtpa of port capacity at the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal for the Eagle Downs project.[10]

  • Operator: Aquila (50%), South32 (50%)
  • Owners: Aquila = 85% Baosteel, 15% Aurizon. South32 is the parent company.
  • Location: 25km south east of Moranbah in Queensland’s Bowen Basin region
  • GPS Coordinates: -22.189318, 148.204249 (exact)[1]
  • Status: Cancelled
  • Production Capacity: 4.5 Mt/year[1] then proposal to increase to 8 Mtpa with a second longwall.[10]
  • Total Resource: 1,140 Mt (2022)[3]
  • Minable Reserves:
  • Coal Type: Coking coal[1]
  • Mine Size: 4,550 ha (lease)[18]
  • Mine Type: Underground, longwall mine[1]
  • Start Year:
  • Source of Financing:

Articles and Resources

Additional data

To access additional data, including an interactive map of world coal mines, a downloadable dataset, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Mine Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Aquila, "Eagle Downs Coking Coal Project", Aquila website, accessed 9 October 2019.
  2. Australia's South32 mulls Eagle Downs stake sale after halting development Reuters, January 20, 2021
  3. 3.0 3.1 South 32 Annual Report 2022, South32, page 131, accessed March 2023.
  4. Cecilia Jamasmie, "South32 hasn’t found buyer for Eagle Downs coal project", Mining.com, 25 July 2022.
  5. Queensland Judgements, "Eagle Downs coal project" 24 November 2011.
  6. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, "Minerals and energy: Major development projects", April 2010. (Pdf). The list is also available in Excel format here.)
  7. The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia), "Aquila Beats Vale in Court; Aussie Miner Scuttles Meeting Exposing It to Partner's Buyout"Questia website, 9 September 2011.
  8. M Neems, "Aquila, Vale settle legal dispute"Australian Business Review, 14 April 2014.
  9. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 Mining Technology, "Eagle Downs Coal Project, Queensland",Mining Technology website, accessed 9 October 2019.
  10. News.com.au, "Aquila delays Eagle Downs construction" 26 June 2013.
  11. Daily Mercury, https://www.dailymercury.com.au/news/big-read-the-changing-coal-landscape-in-2017/3134249/ "BIG READ: The changing coal landscape in 2017 "], 21 January 2017.
  12. 13.0 13.1 South32, "Eagle Downs Metallurgical Coal", South32 website, accessed 9 October 2019.
  13. South32, "South32 Annual Report 2019",Page 124, 5 September 2019.
  14. Queensland Government, "Eagle Downs coal project" 19 July 2019.
  15. "Pembroke starts project finance push for coal mine" The Australian Financial Review, May 25, 2020.
  16. EPCM Resources, "Eagle Downs Coking Coal Project", Youtube, 30 September 2019.
  17. ICN Gateway, "Eagle Downs Metallurgical Coal", accessed 9 October 2019.