New Acland coal mine approvals in question

The Queensland Labor government has announced it is reviewing approvals for the expansion of the New Acland coal mine.

Natural Resources and Mines minister Anthony Lynham confirmed the approvals would be reassessed, throwing the $896 million expansion into question.

"We have already started a process review of the approval of the proposed expansion of New Acland mine," he said.

The expansion approvals, granted last year during tenure of the Newman Government, would provide an extra 250 jobs during the construction phase, and will require an additional 130 workers during production to increase current staffing levels to 435.

The mine expansion has been subject of media controversy due to coverage by broadcaster Alan Jones, and his claims that donations to the Queensland Liberal party had influenced their withdrawal of opposition to the mine.

Former Queensland deputy premier Jeff Seeney said earlier this year that the Newman Government had not supported New Acland Coal’s original 2007 expansion plan due to its effect on high quality agricultural land and proximity to local townships, and that their position was reversed after changes to the planning application.

Current planning requirements of the New Acland mine expansion include:

-Preserving the course of Lagoon Creek

-Moving the Jondaryan rail load-out facility eight kilometres from the town

-Moving mining activity 10 kilometres from Oakey

-No relocation of the heritage-listed New Acland colliery

-Reducing the impact on Strategic Cropping Land by around 2300 hectares

-Reducing throughput from up to 10 million tonnes a year to a maximum of 7.5 million tonnes a year

-Reducing of the proposed mine life from 2042 to 2029.

Lynham said the government would honour its election commitment to reinstate rights for third-party landholders in relation to notification of mining project approvals and capacity to object to approvals in the Land Court.

"Unlike the previous LNP government we won't be pushing our amendments through without first listening to Queenslanders," he said.

The deadline for public submissions to the Environmental Authority is on Wednesday July 1.

 

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