One dollar coal mine gets bid from conservation group

Mackay Conservation Group is offering to pay $2000 for the Blair Athol coal mine in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, following TerraCom’s plan to purchase it for just $1.

TerraCom aims to buy the mine from the Blair Athol Coal Joint Venture (BACJV) if its current owner Rio Tinto provided $80 million for the mine’s rehabilitation liability. The funds were to be held in a bank account controlled by QLD’s Department of Environmental Heritage Protection.

The QLD Government is yet to approve the sale.

Rick Humphries, a member of the Lock the Gate Alliance and a former Rio Tinto employee who worked the closure plan of the mine, said Rio estimated the rehabilitation fees would be more twice the $80 million proposed, according the Daily Mercury.

“The primary reason Rio Tinto is so keen to see this deal go through is because it’s good for their shareholders to get it off the books. It’s a bargain,” he said.

He went on to say that if the $80 million was insufficient, taxpayers would have to pay the difference.

In an effort to prevent this, Mackay Conservation Group has begun a crowd-funding campaign to generate $2000 to purchase the mine from Rio.

The main condition is that Rio would pay all rehabilitation costs, even if they were more than the initial $80 million.

To date, more than 24 people donated between $2 and $500 to the cause, raising a total of $1392.

Last year, Greenpeace sought to purchase major European energy generator Vattenfall’s brown coal mines and power plants in order to shut them down.

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