The Fraser Coast community has cautiously welcomed the announcement that the value of the proposed Colton coal mine has been written down by New Hope Coal and the company is now re-considering the future of the project.
The proposed coking coal mine near Maryborough planned to dump untreated mine waste in the Mary River, threatening the nationally significant Great Sandy Strait near the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island..
Veteran environmental campaigner for the region, John Sinclair, said the recent visit by Royal couple Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Fraser Island demonstrated how important it was that the environmental values of the region were not compromised.
“This beautiful region has just been broadcast to the world, and it is reassuring to know that development of the Colton mine is now on the backburner and our environment is safe for now,” he said.
“Now is the time to ensure it is permanently safeguarded for the thousands of people who will now no doubt want to visit.
“The move by New Hope to reconsider the project reminds us that coal mining is a boom bust industry that can’t be relied on.
“This mine should never go ahead because the planned waste water discharge into the nearby Mary River will undoubtedly pollute the magnificent estuarine system”.
Mr Sinclair said the Qld Government should now proceed quickly with World Heritage listing for the Great Sandy Strait and rule out any mining because it is simply not compatible with the qualities of the region.
Sue Linforth, from local group Aldershot And District Against Mining, called for New Hope to relinquish the mining licences so the community can get on with promoting and supporting the environmental and tourism values of the region.
“The coal dust and industrial noise from the mine would have created serious hazards for Aldershot residents, so we can breathe a sigh of relief for the moment," she said.
“My husband Brian worked for many years to stop this dangerous mine, even as he fought his own battle with cancer, and it is a testament to his determination that the project has still not progressed any further past the approval phase.
“New Hope coal should show some respect to our local community now and relinquish this project fully and let it fade into history - we don’t want this sold on to another company who then plunge us back into uncertainty."