The Lock the Gate Alliance today called on the State Government to “totally reject” the Alpha coal mine project in Central Queensland.
The Queensland Land Court has concluded that there should have been a precautionary approach applied to the groundwater impacts of the mine, and recommended that the mine be rejected or approved with far tighter, precautionary conditions.
Local landholder, Paola Cassoni, whose land adjoins the proposed mining lease said the court’s decision vindicated the community's “grave concerns” about the impacts of the mine on the future of the state’s water supplies.
“This decision today shows that the Queensland Government erred in approving the Alpha coal mine by failing to properly consider its impacts on groundwater resources and farm water supplies," she said .
“We are really pleased to see the Land Court has today vindicated our grave concerns about the impacts of this thirsty mine on the future of our water supplies.
"It is now vital that the State Government does the right thing. After all of the stress and expense that we have experienced as landholders, they need to respect this decision.
"The major outcome of the decision today is that GVK/Hancock needs to go back to the drawing board as far as groundwater is concerned, and they need to act with caution," she said.
The Lock the Gate Alliance’s spokesperson, Ellie Smith said: "We believe it is unlikely that GVK/Hancock will ever be able to develop this mine because of the severity of the groundwater impacts and the conditions imposed by the Land Court today.
"The Land Court put forward an option for the Qld Government to reject the coal mine outright and we are calling on them to act on that recommendation to protect water resources and provide certainty for local farmers.
"This decision will also have repercussions for other coal mines in the region and we now want to see a study done of the cumulative groundwater impacts of all proposed coal mines in the region as a matter of urgency."
Ms Smith said the decision was a huge win for common sense in protecting land and water for all Queenslanders. She congratulated the landowners and groups who opposed the project including the Anderson and Currie families, Paola Cassoni from Bimblebox, Kathryn Kelly, the Coast and Country Association of Queensland, the Mackay Conservation Group and their representatives including the Environmental Defenders Office.