The New Hope Group has welcomed the Queensland Government’s decision to grant an Environmental Authority for the continuation of the New Acland Coal Mine.
The $896 million stage 3 expansion of the Acland coal mine will see developments of parts of the Manning Vale and Willeroo sites, upgrades to existing coal handling and preparation plant and supporting infrastructure, the relocation of the Jondaryan rail load-out facility and the creation of a rail spur.
“This represents a significant step forward in an ongoing approvals process which will continue until a mining lease is formally granted,” a statement from New Hope said.
“New Hope has been working through this process with successive Queensland State Governments since 2007.
“New Acland has played a key role in the Darling Downs region as an employer and economic contributor since it began operations in 2002. The revised New Acland Project plan will extend the life of the current operation to about 2029.”
The Lock the Gate Alliance said the government’s approval “while it is still under a political donations’ cloud is a terrible decision that will have far-reaching repercussions”.
President Drew Hutton said the government should have waited until the completion of an election promise before a decision was made on the Environmental Authority.
“This is a very sad day for the people of Oakey and Acland – government after government has treated them with disregard and contempt,” Mr Hutton said.
“It’s incredibly disappointing that a government that promised to issue in a new era of accountability and transparency in Queensland has yet again chosen to rush through an outcome to suit the interests of big mining and shafted local communities and the environment.
“This mine will drain precious groundwater, destroy some of the best agricultural land in the country, and put at risk the health of local communities.”