December 19, 2014
The State Government announced this evening that the controversial $900 million New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 expansion will go ahead, subject to the Federal Government signing off on the project.
Deputy Premier and Member for Callide Jeff Seeney said the Co-ordinator-General’s approval of the project would be subject to 137 strict conditions to manage its impact.
“Today’s decision from the Co-ordinator General is a significant step towards construction of this mine and great economic news for the Darling Downs and south-east Queensland,” Mr Seeney said.
“This mine expansion is set to create over 250 jobs during construction and another 435 operational jobs, as well as providing business opportunities in the nearby towns of Dalby, Oakey, Pittsworth and others.
“The reduced scope of this project in response to local concerns is a good example of a resource company working hard to achieve community confidence.”
In February 2012, the LNP specifically ruled out any expansion of the mine as part of the party’s election campaign.
However, Mr Seeney said today the State Government had not supported New Acland Coal’s original 2007 expansion plan due to its effect on high quality agricultural land and proximity to local townships.
“Since 2012, the proponent has reduced the project’s footprint by around 60 per cent and has relinquished 1401ha or 28 per cent of the mining lease area, including the town of Acland,” he said.
Other significant changes include:
- Preserving the course of Lagoon Creek
- Moving the Jondaryan rail load-out facility 8km from the town
- Moving mining activity 10km from Oakey
- No relocation of the Heritage-listed New Acland colliery
- Reducing the impact on Strategic Cropping Land by around 2300ha
- Reducing throughput from up to 10 million tonnes a year to a maximum of 7.5 million tonnes a year
- Reducing of the proposed mine life from 2042 to 2029.
The Co-ordinator General has also imposed conditions covering groundwater, including baseline studies and ongoing monitoring of water bores.
Other key conditions in the Coordinator-General’s report include:
- The new rail load-out facility, located 8km away from the town of Jondaryan, must transport all product from day one of operating the Stage 3 project – thereby replacing the existing Jondaryan rail load-out facility which is just 1km from the town.
- Noise and dust limits that require best practice
- A new sealed road from Acland to Jondaryan.
- Establishment of a flora and fauna conservation zone along the section of Lagoon Creek in the mining lease area, with a particular focus on improving koala habitat
- Independent verification of the design and construction of the rail spur infrastructure to minimise any potential flooding impacts.
The New Acland mine expansion will now be considered by the Federal Minister for the Environment for approval under the EPBC Act.
If approved, the proponents would then need to seek State Government approval for a mining lease under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 and an Environmental Authority under the Environmental Protection Act 1994.