New Hope has been calling on the State Government to grant the required permits for years (Photo: TSBE)

June 28, 2022

An amended Environmental Authority (EA) has been approved by the Department of Environment and Science for the controversial Stage 3 expansion of the New Acland coal mine.

“The EA only takes effect upon the grant of a mining tenure, which is yet to be provided,” a statement issued by the Department on Tuesday said.

“It includes a number of strict conditions, including ensuring that air and noise emissions from proposed activities are managed and monitored effectively.

“Should there be any activity prior to all approvals being granted, the independent regulator will monitor compliance with environmental obligations in accordance with the EA.”

In December, the Land Court recommended the amended EA be granted, subject to several conditions.

In a statement to the ASX, parent company New Hope Corporation said the EA included the Co-ordinator-General’s amended conditions in accordance with the Land Court’s recommendation.

“The remaining primary approvals are the granting of the Mining Leases by the Minister for Resources and the associated Water Licence by the Department of Regional Development,
Manufacturing and Water,” the statement continued.

“New Hope Group continues to work collaboratively and productively with representatives from the various Government departments to finalise the grant of the mining leases and the associated water licence.”

Anti-mine activists Lock the Gate and the Oakey Coal Action Alliance condemned the granting of the EA.

In a statement, the groups said that only last week, New Hope had been forced to enter into an enforceable undertaking with the State Government after an investigation into mining activities at the company’s existing New Acland mine.

“The Acland mine is currently closed, and we do not want to see this damaging mine re-opened,” OCAA spokesperson Paul King said.

“It’s absolutely scandalous that this mine, which has been pinged for illegal mining for several years but let off by the Queensland Government with a slap on the wrist instead of a prosecution, should be allowed to proceed.

“At a time of global food insecurity, it doesn’t make sense to risk some of the biggest dairy farms in the State with this mine. Dairy farmers in the area produce 10 million litres of quality milk each year.

“New Hope still needs a water licence for this project and it’s now up to Water Minister Glenn Butcher and his department to step up and reject the application.”

Lock The Gate and OCAA claim the New Acland expansion will use up to 1.3 million litres of water a day, draining water bores.

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