Concerned community members gathered at the New Hope Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Ipswich today to plead with the company’s shareholders to help landholders who will be negatively affected by proposed New Hope coal mine expansions.
The event focused on New Hope’s proposed expansion of the Acland mine stage 3 on the Darling Downs and the proposed Colton mine on the Mary River, near Maryborough – both which will have devastating impacts on local famers, landholders and communities.
Those impacted by both of the proposals have been forced to go to the Land Court in a last-ditch effort to protect their farms, water resources, health and lifestyles.
Both mines continue to be a major test for the Queensland Government, even as the mining industry and Mines Minister Anthony Lynham are trying to limit the accessibility of impacted people to the court system and restrict the time limits even further.
Acland Stage 3 coal mine expansion will destroy rich food lands and water resources on the Darling Downs. The Colton coal mine will threaten the health of Aldershot residents, who live just 2km away, and will discharge polluted waste water into the Mary River upstream of the Great Sandy Strait.
Lock the Gate has asked the State Government to stop both mine proposals and to conduct a far-reaching public inquiry into political donations and mining in Queensland, including investigating $950,000 in donations made by companies associated with the Acland mine to the Liberal/National Party.
Background Facts on the Proposed Acland Coal Mine Expansion
The Acland Stage 3 Coal Mine:
- Will result in the loss of more 1,300 hectares of Strategic Cropping Land located on the fertile soils of our nationally significant food-bowl on the Darling Downs.
- Will cause drawdown in groundwater aquifers of up to 47m in some locations and will impact negatively on up to 300 water bores
- Will result in the release of poor quality mine water into Lagoon Ck, reducing water quality and degrading surface water supplies.
- Will worsen noise and air quality for people and farmers surrounding the mine, many of whom are already living with negative impacts of the current operations
- Will cause negative impacts on threatened species and communities, including the Koala
- Will allow a treasured and irreplaceable local heritage site, the Acland War Memorial and Tom Doherty Park, to be sold off to New Hope Coal.
- Will leave a final hole or 'void' that covers more than 475 hectares.
- Will do little or nothing for the people of Qld, because it is captured by an old title which means that the Qld Government will receive only a tiny fraction of the royalties.
Background Briefing on the Colton Coal Mine
The proposed Colton Coal mine is planned for construction just 11km north of the major coastal centre of Maryborough and 20km west of Hervey Bay, in the Wide Bay Burnett region.
The Colton mine is a proposal for a 0.5Mtpa open cut coal mine to operate for ten years. The mine will be dug on public land in an important biodiversity corridor.
The township of Aldershot is located just over 2km from the proposed open cut mine site.
There are over 1042 residents in Aldershot whose health, property values and well-being are all under threat because of this risky coal mining venture. The local community is concerned about air quality from dangerous dust pollutants and from potential contamination of their rainwater drinking tanks - which they rely on, not having access to any other water supplies. They are also worried about increased noise impacts from the mine
- The mine proposes to allow untreated mine water to be discharged directly into the Mary River, only 15km upstream of the river mouth and the Fraser Coast.
- The discharge will include water contaminated with a range of heavy metals, including selenium and cadmium.
- The proposed discharge is upstream of both the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar wetland and the Great Sandy Strait Marine Park.
- All Queenslanders stand to lose from this ill-considered proposal to dump untreated waste water into the iconic Mary River.
- The extraordinary tourist attractions of Fraser Island and the Great Sandy Strait should not be a dumping ground for the mining industry.
- This mine proposal shows a complete disregard for the internationally significant wetlands and coastlines of our region, and the international attraction they present to tourists from around the world.
- The Colton coal mine is owned by New Hope Coal, who donated $700,000 to the Qld Government in the lead-up to the last election. The mine was rejected a number of times by Qld Government departments in the past, but was recently given approval.