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Years-long battle over Qld coal mine continues

Tuesday, January 17th, 2023

The battle over New Acland Coal's (NAC) Queensland mine began again on Monday over an approved expansion.

The battle over New Acland Coal’s (NAC) Queensland mine heated up again on Monday over an approved expansion.

The Queensland Government granted the necessary mining leases and associated water licence last year, allowing the mine to come out of care and maintenance and begin digging up to 7.5 million tonnes of coal per year.

The New Acland thermal coal mine has generated opposition from groups such as the Oakey Coal Action Alliance (OCAA) and environmental lobby group Lock the Gate.

Both groups have applied to the Queensland Government to review the licences and revoke the original decision.

The allied objectors claimed the groundwater modelling presented to the Water Department by NAC contained too much uncertainty, made questionable assumptions and “likely underestimated” drawdown predictions, potentially leading to dry or depleted farm bores.

“The Palaszczuk Government should be prioritising farmers’ water security over coal,” OCAA secretary Paul King said.

“New Acland’s coal mine expansion threatens dairies that produce 10 million litres of milk each year, and would tear up some of Queensland’s best farmland.”

A spokesman for the mine’s owner, New Hope Group, said the government “critically assessed New Acland Stage 3 and found it stacks up environmentally, socially and financially”.

Approved work on the mine’s expansion began in earnest in November.

New Hope Group said at the time the mine had received more than 1000 expressions of interest, mostly from Darling Downs locals, to fill the projected 600 construction jobs and 400 jobs ongoing.

The spokesman said 100 workers were expected to be on site at the end of next month.

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