WHILE the region has been wrapped up in the discussion about Adani, another big player has been quietly building up behind the scenes.
Focus now turns to GVK Hancock's next big mine project in Central Queensland.
Partnered with mining mogul Gina Rinehart, the Kevin's Corner project boasts a potential future of 1800 construction jobs and 1600 operational jobs and contribute $30billion in taxes and royalties over its operating life.
The development, about 160km west of Emerald and 65km north of Alpha, will create spin-offs across central Queensland.
Rockhampton Regional Council's resource industry spokesperson Councillor Neil Fisher said the CQ development would be perfect for Rockhampton.
Cr Fisher said Rocky could provide the suitable infrastructure, a university, a residential hub, a workforce to accommodate it, and has the Capricorn Highway giving transport access to the Galilee Basin.
"While all the Adani work has been going on, it was only in August that GVK got the granting of the environmental authority for their Kevin's Corner proposed mine site," Cr Fisher said.
"There's a whole series of boxes they've got to tick and approvals they've got to get, and while there's been huge media speculation about Adani's Carmichael mine, this one's been quietly working behind the scene and they've been doing a lot of work. Their community work is quite something."
The mining company has been quietly involved in events like the Alpha Show, and have been sponsoring Christmas celebrations in Alpha, with this year's lights event set to be the biggest yet. Despite the backlash that Adani has received, Cr Fisher said the development of the Galilee Basin will provide the next generation of coal-fired power stations with high-quality, low-ash, low-sulphur thermal coal, and in turn, limited greenhouse gases.
He said this was a much better alternative than using the lower quality coal mined in other parts of the world.
"It's all about that relevant spin-off and that sort of money circulating in those towns. That wealth starts to spread and you see that wealth coming back towards the coast, which is good for our community," Cr Fisher said.
"Many of our businesses that have been gearing up for Adani; it gives them the opportunity to be suppliers or trade contractors for the GVK mines as well as other proposed mines like Waratah Coal, the largest tenement holder within the Galilee Coal Basin."
Cr Fisher told The Morning Bulletin that a number of Central West councils were also hoping to get a share of the action.
"We're still more than a couple of decades before we have the affordable technologies to have renewal energy, that does not mean we should not ignore renewables if the costs are beneficial" he said.
Always the big selling factor behind coal-fired power stations is that it will provide cheap power.
"We need to strike that balance to where families can afford to have power, our aged pensioners can afford to have power while managing the introduction of renewables so there is not a significant cost difference in cost between the two.
"We should be putting our hand up for the state's next-generation coal-fired power station to be located here in central Queensland. After all, nations like Japan are building 45 new coal-fired power stations to diversify their power supply. We should be capable of constructing at least one," Cr Fisher said.
However, he is aware of the opposition's point of view.
"I think if you draw a line south of Bundaberg, I don't think people get it about the coal mining. They cannot see the value the jobs provide."
Cr Fisher believes we need to start talking about the possibility, encouraging political discussion."
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