The Queensland Land Court has recommended against approval of the Acland Stage 3 coal mine expansion on the Darling Downs of Queensland- one of Queensland's most productive farming regions.
Final decisions are now required by the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines (for the mining leases) and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (for the environmental authority). In the past, they have always followed the recommendation of the Land Court when it recommended approval.
The legal case against the Acland Stage 3 coal mine was one of the largest environmental cases in Australian history. Send a message to the Queensland Government asking them to respect the court and stop the mine, now!
This is the first time that this Court has ever recommended outright rejection of a mining project after a contested hearing. In contrast, it has recommended approval of mining projects over 290 times in the last 10 years.
A summary of the direct findings of the Land Court can be found here. The key facts established by the Court are:
- Extraordinarily significant agricultural land: The proposed mine is located on land that is among the best 1.5% of agricultural land in Queensland.
- Groundwater threats too severe: The full impacts of groundwater drawdown are uncertain, but it has the potential to adversely affect surrounding farmers for hundreds of years to come.
- Destruction of the town of Acland: The existing mine has greatly impacted local residents from noise and dust, and has caused the town of Acland to functionally no longer exist. Read more about Acland's history here.
- Job estimates inflated: New Acland significantly over-estimated the job impacts and the net jobs created is estimated at only 680, rather than the 3550 stated in the EIS.
- Very limited royalties: More than 93% of royalties – equivalent to an estimated $436M - will be foregone by the Queensland Government, because the mine is situated on old land titles.