Council calls to extinguish dormant mine leases
IPSWICH councillors are committed to ensuring surrendered mining leases are extinguished by the State Government in Ipswich and the western corridor.
Cr David Pahlke and Cr Paul Tully are leading the charge and both spoke yesterday at the council general meeting about the issue.
Cr Tully said there was "a lot of angst" in the community about mining in its various forms.
"There should be a progressive extinguishment of the mining leases that are not being used, but we are not trying to close down existing operations," Cr Tully said.
"Rather than being put on hold and picked up by another company, in the western corridor the leases need to be extinguished to provide certainty for the community."
Cr Pahlke, who represents Division 10 out west, has consulted with landowners in the region and said "they want certainty".
Pahlke agreed with Cr Tully and said that when a surrendered mining lease (ML), coal exploration permit (EPC) or mineral development licence (MDL) came up for renewal that it should be "extinguished for good".
"One of the issues for a long period of time is that there are EPCs, MLs and MDLs all over Ipswich, especially in my area," he said.
"They just sit there on the portfolio of mining companies.
"A change of government has seen a distinct difference in approach in that they are prepared to consult.
"When these mining leases come up every five or 10 years they are asking our opinion before making a decision.
"The one that goes out towards Mount Mort near Mt Walker way has been a contentious issue for five years.
"The MDL at Mount Mort, which is the old Ebenezer mine - has been relinquished and not renewed and there are talks that the ML, the mine itself, will be relinquished.
"Another mining company can come in and grab it, but we are asking that they be extinguished."
Cr Pahlke said coal exploration leases were now also being investigated by the State Government.
"The previous government issued all these EPCs around our area without consultation," he said.
"The western rail corridor is going to be a growth corridor for the next 50 years and I have always said that mining and urban development do not mix.
"There is only a few years left for New Hope, which will probably be the last coal mine in south-east Queensland.
"I have been talking of a 'sunset' to coal mining activities in Ipswich in recent years."
There was some fun banter in the council meeting when Cr Pahlke recalled how he and Cr Tully had "famously visited the Ebenezer mine" in the 1990s while fighting for the rights of landowners. The mining company had given the workers signs to greet them with.
"They said 'sack Pahlke, sack Tully'," Cr Pahlke grinned.
Cr Tully then interjected "they were half right", to the amusement of the QT at least.