May 18, 2017
by Anne Miller
Moreton Resources has identified a 60 metre wide, 132km long corridor which it would like to use to transport coal north from its proposed Kingaroy mine.
A map released by the company shows the start of the proposed route, which would cross the Bunya Highway as well as the Kingaroy-Burrandowan Road.
A buffer zone includes about half of the Kingaroy Golf Course.
The route ends at Theebine, a tiny town north-west of Gympie with a population of just 200. But it is also the location of where the now-closed Nanango / Kingaroy branch line joined the main North Coast rail line.
Sections of the closed branch line are currently being developed by local councils in a multi-million dollar State Government-backed tourism project to create a rail trail for runners and cyclists between Kingaroy and Kilkivan.
A Moreton statement to the ASX on Monday said the transport route would be located within a 2.5km buffer zone around the “defunct” rail line.
The statement said identification of the transport corridor was a key milestone for the project, as was the completion of “wet season ecology and water quality surveys” for the mine’s Environmental Impact Statement.
“These works have been completed on schedule and within budget and as such the overall timeline and budget for completing the approvals processes for the South Burnett Coal Project remain unchanged,” executive chairman Jason Elks said.
“Following in-depth analysis, the proposed transport corridor for the project has been refined within a 2.5km buffer zone either side of the defunct Kingaroy to Theebine rail line.
“Key community and environmental factors were weighted to minimise potential impacts within engineering constraints.
“The route will avoid all urban areas and minimise fragmentation of land parcels or high value environmental areas.
“The work to date has identified priorities for ongoing assessment and management of the Project proposal and will be used in conjunction with further studies to maximise project benefits and minimise impacts as the EIS process continues.
“The wet season surveys were carried out by independent consulting firm GHD in March/April 2017 following significant regional rainfall. The survey included publicly accessible areas within MLA 700015 and the 2.5km buffer zone either side of the proposed transport corridor.
“The ecological surveys comprised assessments of regional ecosystems, threatened ecological communities, fauna habitats and active searches for wildlife. The aquatic studies occurred at the same time and documented watercourse characteristics, hydrological data and biodiversity.
“The results were as expected, with the high level of previous land clearing and agricultural activity reducing the extent and significance of natural habitats.
“The areas with ecological importance are restricted to relatively small remnants of native vegetation along creeks and roadsides.
“Three specially protected species were recorded within the entire survey area, although there is some potential for other protected species to occur based on suitable habitat features being present.
“Pest species and weeds were relatively abundant across the entire assessment area, and are reflective of the quality of land and potential impact such a project is expected to have.
“Watercourses were all moderately to highly disturbed with evidence of erosion observed at most sample sites.
“The South Burnett Coal Project has been assigned Coordinated Project Status by the Queensland Department of State Development, which identifies it as requiring a rigorous impact assessment, through an EIS, involving whole-of-government coordination.
“MRV Tarong (a wholly owned subsidiary of Moreton Resources) will be seeking to undertake a large diameter drilling program which will provide bulk coal samples for testing within the next two to four months, which is the last significant step in the technical evaluation of the South Burnett project.
“However, the company will only be in a position to make a final investment decision on the project once the MLA and EA have been granted.”