November 21, 2019
South Burnett Regional Council has agreed to permanently close a 3.3km section of Ridge Road at Neumgna to allow Meandu Mine to expand.
At Wednesday’s monthly meeting, Councillors were told Stanwell had requested the road closure in advance of applying to the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy for permission to expand their King 2 East project.
Ridge Road runs between the D’Aguilar Highway and Neumgna along the eastern edge of the Meandu Mine pit.
It forms a boundary between the Toowoomba and South Burnett regional councils and is jointly managed by them.
Council officers said the road doesn’t provide primary access for private landholders and there were no residential properties serviced by it.
It is also one of several roads that provide access to the Yarraman State Forest, so its closure would not have a negative effect on HQ Plantations, who could use other roads to access the forestry instead.
Stanwell said it would pay compensation – split 50/50 between both councils – for the written-down value of Ridge Road if the closure occurred.
Stanwell first publicly flagged the need to close Ridge Road at a community briefing in May 2017, and underlined the need again at a similar briefing in May this year.
The company proposes extending the existing Meandu pit into the forestry area north-east of the current pits, which would increase the mine’s surface area by 7 per cent (190ha).
In addition to Ridge Road’s closure, the extended pit will also require the relocation of a 275kV Powerlink feeder line.
The new section of the mine is not expected to open until 2024.