Galilee Basin

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The Galilee Basin is a permian geological basin in the western Queensland region of Australia. It is located west of the Surat Basin and is part of the Great Artesian Basin drainage basin. Towns close to proposed mines in the basin include Alpha and Jericho but the basin extends north past Hughenden, south to Charleville and west beyond Winton to Middleton.[1]


The western extension is one of two troughs in the basin and is known as the Lovelle Depression. The Koburra Trough is located in the north east of the basin.[2] The Springsure Shelf is an outcrop straddling the south east border. The Canaway Ridge separates the Galilee Basin from the Cooper Basin to the south west. Sediments in the basin are completely non-marine.[2]


It contains deposits of thermal coal and has been described as Australia's newest mining province. Exploration of coal seam gas, conventional oil and tight oil and shale gas resources is also being conducted.[3]

In 1981, the Queensland Department of Mines estimated that demonstrated resources reached 800 million tonnes near Alpha alone.[4] In 2008, Waratah Coal announced the discovery of 4,400 million tonnes of coal in the basin.[5]


Nine mines have been proposed to be built in the basin.[6]

In May 2012, the Government of Queensland granted approval to Hancock Coal and GVK to construct the Alpha Coal Project. The mine is intended to export 30 million tonnes of thermal coal annually from 2015.[7] 1,000 exployees will be needed once the mine is operational.[6]

Hancock is also hoping to develop the Kevin's Corner coal mine adjacent to the Alpha project.[8]

Mineralogy, controlled by Clive Palmer, owns thermal coal deposits in the Galilee Basin,[9] which he claims amounts to around 100 billion tonnes of coal.[10] [11] However, this amount of coal resource is not substantiated by official figures.[12] Palmer's proposed China First mine which is owned by Waratah Coal,[13] would result in the destruction of Bimblebox Nature Refuge, which is part of Australia's National Reserve System and is listed as a conservation area of State Significance in Queensland.[14] The reserve is co-owned local landowner Paola Cassoni who is adamant the endangered black-throated finch must be protected.[13]

The mine is expected to export 40 million tonnes of coal a year and according to Palmer will proceed even though one of the original supporters, Vitol, has left the project.[15] China First Coal includes an open-cut, underground longwall mine, standard gauge railway and port facility.[16]

Port facilities at Abbot Point are expected to be the export point for coal sourced from the Galilee Basin. A proposal for a coal-fired power station in the areas has been placed on hold.[17] Water supply for mines in the basin was once provided as a reason supporting the development of the Bradfield Scheme.[18]

In July 2014, Greg Hunt, the Australian Minister for Environment approved the Carmichael coal mine and its associated rail link to the coast.[19] The AU$ 16.5 billion project is expected to create the largest coal mine in Australia and one of the largest in the world.


In the south east of the basin lies the Rewan Formation. Small assemblages of the tetrapod species, Lydekkerina from the Lootsbergian age have been found.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Galilee Basin Operators Forum". Galilee Basin Operators Forum. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Wagner, Robert Herman; Cornelis Frederik Winkler Prins (1983). The Carboniferous of the World: Australia, Indian subcontinent, South Africa, South America, & North Africa. IGME. pp. 78–79. ISBN 8439856709. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Bevis Yeo (7 May 2012). "Exoma Energy spuds first hole in Galilee Basin coal seam gas drilling program". (Proactive Investors). Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Year Book Australia, 1982 No. 66. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 1982. p. 402. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Geological Survey (U.S.) (2008). Minerals Yearbook, 2008, V. 3, Area Reports, International, Asia and the Pacific. Government Printing Office. p. 3.10. ISBN 1411329643. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Megan Hendry, Chrissy Arthur and Francis Tapim (30 May 2012). "Government begins talks for Galilee coal rail line". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  7. ^ David Wroe (2 June 2012). "Federal fury at coalmine 'hypocrisy' in Queensland". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "Kevin’s Corner". Hancock Coal. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "Magnate's company paid no tax". Brisbane Times (Fairfax Media). 12 April 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Nassim Khadem (30 November 2011). "Meet Clive Palmer: Busy one day, frantic the next". Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "Australian Story - extended transcript". Australian Story, ABC. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Geoscience Australia (2010). Australian Energy Resource Assessment. Geoscience Australia. p. 143. 
  13. ^ a b Andrew Beard (19 April 2013). "Waratah Coal project at risk because of threatened rare bird". CQNews (Central Queensland News Publishing Company). Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  14. ^ "Terrestrial Protected Areas of Queensland". Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  15. ^ Stuart Washington and Tom Allard (11 May 2012). "Palmer project under pressure after $40b purchase contract cancelled". Northern Argus (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  16. ^ "China First Coal Project". Waratah Coal. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  17. ^ "Galilee Basin Power Station". Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  18. ^ Ghassemi, Fereidoun; Ian White (2007). Inter-basin Water Transfer: Case Studies from Australia, United States, Canada, China, and India. Cambridge University Press. p. 132. ISBN 0521869692. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  19. ^ "Largest Australian coal mine given the go-ahead". July 28, 2014. 
  20. ^ Lucas, Spencer G. (2010). The Triassic Timescale. Geological Society. p. 454. ISBN 186239296X. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 

Coordinates: 22°00′S 146°00′E / 22.000°S 146.000°E / -22.000; 146.000