Lock the Gate Alliance have called on the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Anthony Lynham, to wait until a decision has been made in the Court of appeal before granting a mining lease for the Acland Stage 3 coal expansion on the Darling Downs.
It was revealed this morning that the Department of Environment and Science had this week issued an Environmental Authority for the project.
The QLD Court of Appeal is currently considering an appeal by local community group Oakey Coal Action Alliance against a Supreme Court decision in favour of the project.
“The Queensland Government has repeatedly said it will wait for the legal process to take its course in relation to this damaging project, and we’re asking it to stick to its word,” said Carmel Flint, spokesperson for Lock the Gate Alliance.
“We’re seeking urgent confirmation from Minister Lynham today that he is not going to approve a mining lease against the wishes of the local community whilst it is being considered by the Court of Appeal.
“It would cause enormous angst and distress for the local farming community if he were to give New Hope a mining lease while the Court of Appeal decision is still pending’ she said.
Key facts in relation to Acland Stage 3 established by the original Land Court decision that have not been challenged include that:
The proposed mine is located on land that is among the best 1.5% of agricultural land in Queensland.
The full impacts of groundwater drawdown are uncertain, but it has the potential to adversely affect surrounding farmers for hundreds of years to come.
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.
The existing mine has greatly impacted local residents from noise and dust, and has caused the town of Acland to functionally no longer exist.
New Acland significantly over-estimated the job impacts and the net jobs created is substantially smaller than that stated in the EIS.