June 5, 2020
A new chapter in the long running saga of New Hope’s proposed coal mine expansion at Acland began on Friday when the Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) was granted special leave to appeal to the High Court.
OCAA was granted an application to appeal the orders of the Queensland Court of Appeal, made on November 1, 2019, which concerned the validity of a prior Land Court decision.
A date for the hearing of the full High Court Appeal has not been set down but is likely to take place later this year.
In a statement to the ASX, New Hope said OCAA were not challenging the Court of Appeal’s findings on substantive issues and urged the State Government to approve the expansion immediately.
“OCAA are not challenging findings on groundwater or any other environmental issue that is relevant to any decision being made by government,” the statement said.
“Accordingly, the company is asking the Queensland State Government to immediately approve New Acland Stage 3.”
In December, New Hope described OCAA’s High Court bid as “stunt” and “nothing more than a mechanism to attempt to delay a final decision” on the Stage 3 Acland expansion.
“We have been seeking approval to expand New Acland Mine for more than 12 years,” New Hope Chief Operating Officer Andrew Boyd said at the time.
“Over the past two years we have fought and won a series of legal battles against a handful of objectors to the project.
“This latest stunt by OCAA has nothing to do with groundwater or any other environmental issue.
“It is clear that this action is nothing more than an attempt to delay final decisions on Stage 3.”
In a separate action, New Acland Coal (NAC) – part of the New Hope group – has been granted leave to file a second application for the winding up of OCAA.
NAC is pursuing OCAA for an estimated $700,000 in court costs.
UPDATE October 6, 2020: The High Court has reserved its decision on the OCAA appeal.
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