Challenge to Acland mine expansion goes to court

Anti-mining protesters outside the Brisbane Magistrates Court.
Anti-mining protesters outside the Brisbane Magistrates Court. Contributed

A TEN week legal fight over the future of a Darling Downs coal mine will begin in Brisbane today.

Farmer and activist group Oakey Coal Action Alliance is challenging New Hope Mining's New Acland Coal Mine's expansion at the Queensland Land Court.

Speaking outside court in Brisbane on Monday OCAA president Frank Ashman said the group was committed to the lengthy legal process.

He said the main issue for the farmers in the region was the potential impact on groundwater and aquifers.

Mr Ashman said the mine's environmental impact statement said water levels in aquifers around the mine could drop metres as a by-product of the expansion.

"If we cannot water our cattle, our cattle simply die," he said.

Environmental Defenders Office solicitor Jo Bragg speaking outside the Brisbane Magistrates Court with OCAA president Frank Ashman and wife Lyn Photo Contributed
Environmental Defenders Office solicitor Jo Bragg speaking outside the Brisbane Magistrates Court with OCAA president Frank Ashman and wife Lyn Photo Contributed Contributed

New Hope managing director Shane Stephan said he welcomed the hearings.

In a statement Mr Stephan said the process would consider the revisions New Hope made to the expansion late in 2015.

"The revised plan, which was subject to a new Environmental Impact Statement, was issued a draft Environmental Approval from the Queensland Government's Department of Environment and Heritage Protection on the 28 August 2015 is now being assessed by the Land Court which will ultimately make recommendations to the Minister for State Development, Natural Resources and Mines," the statement said.

"The Land Court process is a usual part of the approval process. New Hope will assist the Court wherever possible so that it can undertake its process as efficiently as possible."

- APN NEWSDESK


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