Xstrata accused of pushing QLD farmers out

Xstrata coal has been accused of forcing long-term farming families out of their properties with its project at Wandoan, in Queensland’s southern inland.

John Erhacher, a farmer whose land is located where the mining company’s lease has been approved told the ABC his land, first settled by his father in the 1950’s, is one of only four on the mining lease not yet sold to Xstrata.

The mine would produce 30 million tonnes a year, with the possibility to expand that to 100 million tonnes, making it the largest open cut mine in the Southern Hemisphere.

The mine is located immediately west of the Wandoan township and the mining lease application area covers approximately 32 000 hectares.

The proposed mine would include an open cut mine, a coal handling and preparation plant and support facilities and has an expected mine life of more than 30 years.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has imposed strict restrictions on the proposed mine and the company said it will make the final decision later this year.

Erbacher said good farming land has been compromised by the mining activities and he may have no choice but to leave the area.

"The availability of land around Wandoan, there’s not a lot left," he said.

"The size of this mine – it’s 32,000 hectares and it’s taken a great hunk out of the good farming country around Wandoan.

"Outside that, the land, the properties, have been sought after by people who have sold out to Xstrata."

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