Xstrata megamine faces court

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Xstrata’s $7 billion open-cut coal mine proposal was under renewed environmental scrutiny in court proceedings late last week.

Landholders and green group Friends of the Earth are challenging the Queensland development, claiming dust, noise, odour, vibration, and other health impacts would pose unacceptable risks to people and cattle in the area.

But Xstrata has repeatedly argued that the mine development has followed a rigorous environmental assessment.

The company said grazing on lease areas would continue once mining started and the land would retain 60 per cent of its agricultural productivity.

It said after the mine’s 30 year life the land would be returned to around 90 per cent of its former productivity.

Local businesses are also concerned that road redevelopments and closures will be a threat to their operations.

Wandoan landholder Pat Devlin told the court the proposed Xstrata road closures would put his fuel agency at risk.

He said the redevelopments would increase the time it took for his delivery driver to cart fuel by at least 45 minutes.

He said this delay would result in the driver missing a carefully planned schedule to comply with the 14-hour maximum work day for truck drivers.

But Xstrata said its modelling suggested the redevelopments would only increase the travelling time by about 20 minutes.

Xstrata also offered to escort Mr Delvin’s deliveries through their developments during the construction phases, but Mr Delvin said he should not have to do that.

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