An area larger than Wales is now deemed off limits to mining activity, the Queensland Resources Council claim.
This comes off the back of the Bligh Government’s decision yesterday to ban mining within two kilometers of any town that has a population of 1000 or more, outside of south east Queensland.
However, natural resources minister Rachel Nolan has not yet ruled out whether this could be expanded to include smaller communities, stating that the 1000 minimum was chosen as it is a definition of an urban area under the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
QRC acting chief Greg Lane said based on the information released by the state government this would make about 10% of the state’s existing exploration permits null and void.
“The retrospectivity being applied under this plan is not only wrong in principle but also another blow to the state’s plummeting reputation as a safe exploration investment destination,” Lane said.
“From what we have managed to glean from obviously pre-prepared documentation, there are more questions than answers.
“For example, according to the south-east Queensland map supplied by the government, even renewable geothermal energy exploration appears to have been excluded.
He added that this decision had been made without consultation.
According to the exclusion zone plans, towns next to mining operations have a month to ‘opt out’ of the plan.
“But what happens if such a decision is reversed by a new council elected at the March 2012 elections? This is not delivering the ‘certainty’ promised to industry.
“Exploration is the R&D department for our industries and without it, the next generation of important Queensland mines and minerals simply won’t be discovered."
In the most recent Fraser Institute survey of global mining potential, Queensland’s ranking fell from 24 in 2009-10 down to 38. In 2006-07, Queensland was ranked eighth in the world.
“This is another disheartening signal to domestic and global exploration industries while the state continues to promote itself as aspiring to be the exploration capital of Australia.”
This decision to ban mining within urban limits come after Anna Bligh’s call for new workers for the resources industry from coastal areas with high unemployment.
As many as 38,000 construction and operation jobs will be created in the Queensland resources sector between now and 2014-2015.