The Queensland Government is due to hand its decision within the month on whether it will allow the first mine to be constructed below Strategic Cropping Land in Central Queensland.
Bandanna Energy’s Springsure Creek is an underground mine that is predicted to generate 11 million tonnes of coal from two long walls.
Bandanna Energy said it would go ahead with the Springsure Creek coal project, south of Emerald, despite the slowdown in the mining sector.
The company hopes to start production in 2015.
But it is due to occur under Strategic Cropping Land, which is land the state government has considered most conducive to growing crops, ABC reported.
It is protected by legislation from the likes of mining and urban development.
Farmers from Central Queensland are opposing the underground mine fearing it could damage their land.
One farmer, Andrew Bate, from the landowner group Golden Triangle, is unconvinced of Bandanna’s assurance it will repair any land impacted by the mining venture.
“A company that wants to conduct a very controversial experiment on Strategic Cropping Land should have an impeccable reputation and track record when it comes to rehabilitation,” he said.
“Landholders are questioning Bandanna Energy’s commitment when it comes to rehabilitation.”
Bate added the government should bear in mind what landholders have gone through previously when attempting to get rehabilitation done of exploration bores before it grants anything.
The company said it has fulfilled its obligation on the exploration agreement and will continue to do that if the next phase receives approval.
“We take our rehabilitation requirements very seriously…at present we are not aware of any outstanding work to be done,” company managing director Michael Gray said.
Landholders battled with the state government’s decision in 2011 to let Bandanna advance without having to fully follow the state’s Strategic Cropping Land Policy.
Farmers in Queensland met with Queensland Resources Council executive Michael Roche in early 2011 to discuss their apprehensions for their land in the wake of the mining boom.