Council angry at Ipswich open cut coal mine approval

A new coal mine five kilometres from the centre of Ipswich has been given environmental approval, but the local council says it will fight to stop the project going ahead.

Oxley Plant Sales, the owner of the lease, want to mine an area covering 40.44 hectares at New Chum.

The company propose to start "small open-cut mining activity in 2013-2014" with activity scheduled to continue until 2022-2023.

"Open-cut mining is to occur primarily to obtain the remaining coal resources from previous underground mining campaigns," it said.

However the local council says it has been left in the dark about the miner’s plans, and says it was only informed last October that an open-cut coal mine had been proposed for the area.

At the council's meeting last week, Deputy Mayor Victor Attwood said the council should have more say about mining activity, QT news reported.

"I only found out this week the mine at New Chum has been approved," Attwood said.

"We should be able to avoid what I believe is a totally inappropriate place for a mine."

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection said it issued Oxley Plant Sales with a draft Environmental Authority on January 17.

"Objections to the draft EA from parties who provided submissions under Public Notification provisions close on February 21," a spokesman said.

Rural councillor David Pahlke said coal mining should not be allowed in residential areas.

"The State Government's decision-making process overrides the council. We have no say in it,” he said.

"The sad thing is whoever is in power; whatever side of politics, they do the same. They don't listen to the people. It's sad.”

Mayor Paul Pisasale said community consultation was vital.

"Over many years we've been a pro-development council and I stand by that but not at the expense of the community," the Mayor said.

"One of the things the council prides itself on is community consultation.

"When I see things like this happen I think no wonder the public gets upset," he said.

Locals say they are concerned dust and an increase of trucks on the road due to mining activities.

However the company says the mine will have minimal impact on the community.

"The nearest residential area is on the opposite side of the Cunningham Hwy and therefore is unlikely to be affected by the mining project,” it said in environmental documents.

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