The Land Court’s decision to reject the proposed expansion of the New Acland coal mine has been welcomed by AgForce but has sent shivers through the spines of many workers and businesses in the region.
AgForce General President Grant Maudsley says the Land Court’s rejection of mining leases and environmental authorities associated with stage 3 of the is based on significant concerns about groundwater impacts and shortcomings in the current modelling.
“Today’s Land Court decision gives credence to the concerns affected local landholders have raised for many years – that the groundwater impacts could be significant and could affect the long-term viability of agricultural businesses in the area.”
“It validates AgForce’s position that quality science, particularly groundwater studies, must be at the forefront of decision making.”
Mine workers say they are now fearful for the existing 780 workers employed at Acland.
Miners and businesses in the area say concerns are now swelling that the decision will mean massive economic loss to the already struggling region as the 1,000 new jobs that would have been created in the $900 million expansion project fail to materialize.
Mine Owners, New Hope Group, says they will now review the decision.
New Hope says they remain committed to delivering the New Acland Stage 3 project and will actively progress this project through the final stages of approval.
“We look forward to the Queensland Government’s timely and favourable decision regarding the operation.”
The final decision now rests with State Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham who must now decide whether to accept the courts recommendation or allow the mine extension to proceed.
Mine worker Mike Hinton says the decision was “gut wrenching”.
“There will definitely be job losses and it highlights how green lawfare is stopping not only future jobs but current ones and holding us to ransom.”