New Hope Corporation’s proposed expansion of the New Acland coal mine in Queensland’s Darling Downs, dogged by litigation from local landowners, has received a major boost following a decision by the Supreme Court in Brisbane.
The Supreme Court has determined that a Land Court recommendation from last year, citing concerns from local landowners regarding groundwater, noise and intergenerational equity (social and environmental impact) at the site had “grounds for review” and has thus been overturned and returned to the Land Court for further deliberation.
The landowners have formed a group, the Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) to band together as a collective. Alliance spokesman Paul King has issued a statement saying that he is seeking legal advice regarding the Supreme Court’s decision.
In February, New Hope suffered further setbacks following a refusal by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science to support New Hope’s application for stage three progression on the project.
New Hope applied for a judicial review regarding the Land Court’s decision, which proved successful when the Supreme Court overturned it yesterday, potential securing around 700 jobs at the New Acland mine site.
In a statement, New Hope said it remained “committed to securing approval for this project and in doing so being able to provide ongoing employment for the circa 700 jobs reliant on the project.”
The New Acland mine is one of New Hope’s three major coal mining projects, alongside the Bengalla and West Moreton projects.
The expansion is estimated to cost $900 million for New Hope and would extend the mine’s life from 2020 to at least 2031, resulting in an annual production increase of 3 million tonnes (from 4.6 to 7.6 million tonnes) and securing jobs and economic security in the region.