Chinese miner abandons QLD coal plans

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A Queensland conservation group is claiming a win after state-owned Chinese miner Shenhuo International Group abandoned coal exploration south of Toowoomba.

Shenhuo’s exploration permit covered a 5000ha area of the Condamine River floodplain near Felton, and was opposed by lobby group Friends of Felton.

The group said the permit covered areas of high quality farmland that were critical to the Murray Darling Basin.

Spokesperson Rob McCreath told AAP opening a coal mine in the region would be an “unprecedented disaster”.

“Here you have got this combination of fertile soils and flood plain and a climate that makes it suitable to grow so many things,” he said.

In October natural resources minister Rachel Nolan said Shenhuo’s application was unlikely to be approved because its permit fell within a protection zone.

Shenhuo’s exit from QLD follows calls earlier this week by state Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman to widen mining exclusion zones.

Friends of Felton told AAP it also had its sights set on disrupting Ambre Energy’s open cut coal mine and petrochemical plant plans in the Felton Valley.

It said the win in opposing Shenhuo should give encouragement to Lock the Gate, which is also lobbying to stop the development of mining projects on farmland.

Friends of Felton said companies currently exploring the Darling Downs region should save the money of their shareholders by giving up on their plans.

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