New Hope Group has been forced to again reduce its mining activities at the New Acland mine in Queensland due to legal disputes regarding the project’s stage three development.
In its quarterly activities report 31 July 2020, the company revealed it had produced 600,000 tonnes of coal at New Acland, which was lower than the previous quarter.
New Hope said the Queensland Government has not yet made a decision about the New Acland Stage 3 project due to continued legal appeals, which the coal miner said will lead to further job losses.
Most recently, the High Court of Australia granted the project’s objects special leave to appeal the orders in the Queensland Court of Appeal on 6 October 2020, while the Supreme Court of Queensland adjourned an application to complete the Oakey Coal Action Alliance until the High Court appeal is heard.
“The Queensland Government’s inaction will result in further job losses at New Acland in September as coal reserves in the existing mining lease area are exhausted,” New Hope said.
Politicians from Federal Labor, the Coalition and One Nation have pushed the Queensland Government to approve the new Acland Stage 3 project to save jobs and create jobs.
“Despite this pressure, the State Government remains recalcitrant and as a result the Company has no choice but to continue to ramp down mining activities.
“Unfortunately, a further 25 permanent jobs will be made redundant in quarter one of the 2021 financial year,” New Hope said.
“The company continues to correspond with government in regard to allegations of a breach of approval conditions in relation to mining in West Pit. New Hope Group vehemently rejects any suggestion it is unlawfully mining at New Acland.”
New Hope also cited the Newcastle coal price’s monthly average had dropped by 24 per cent since January 2020 due to weaker demand caused by COVID-19, while the company also said Australian coal producers are looking to ‘re-balance’ their production due to the reduced market demand.
The company’s 80-per-cent-owned NSW operations saw 2.8 million tonnes of coal produced in the quarter, with Bengalla achieving a record coal production of 10.3 million tonnes for the full financial year (New Hope share 8.3 million tonnes).