Proponent revises New Acland Expansion project

Published Wednesday, 14 November, 2012 at 04:43 PM

Deputy Premier, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning
The Honourable Jeff Seeney

The State Government has welcomed New Hope Coal’s application for a smaller scale expansion of its New Acland mine on the Darling Downs.

The Commonwealth Government today advised the State it had accepted the variation to the project.

The revised proposal for the New Acland mine has significantly reduced its impact on agricultural land and impacts on the towns of Acland, Jondaryan and Oakey.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said on that basis the government was prepared to cautiously examine the scaled down proposal.

“We made clear during the election that an LNP Government would not support the expansion plans for New Acland as then proposed because it would impact good agricultural land and be too close to local communities,” Mr Seeney said.

“The Premier made good on that commitment on taking office.

“After subsequent discussions the New Hope Group has now come back to government with a vastly reduced proposal which is a big difference from earlier plans and we are prepared to look at this new proposition.

“The revised proposal is 63 per cent smaller than the original. The mining footprint would be reduced by 2,300 hectares.

“Critically, mining over the town of Acland is no longer proposed, neither is diversion of Lagoon Creek, the reduction in scope will move mining 10 kilometres from Oakey and the Jondaryan rail load out facility will be moved to the mine site, eight kilometres from the town.

“We are conscious that there will be strong and divergent views about this revised proposal for expansion of the New Acland mine, even though it is significantly reduced from the previous proposal.

“We are also conscious that direct and indirect jobs rest on decisions about the mine as does the significant economic contribution it provides to the region.”

Mr Seeney said the revised proposal would be subjected to rigorous assessment under State and Commonwealth laws.

“Its future will be decided on whether it can meet all those strict requirements,” he said.

Queensland’s Coordinator-General Barry Broe will take the revised project back to square one for community input and draw up new draft terms of reference for a new environmental impact statement (EIS). The draft terms of reference will be advertised shortly.

“The EIS process is no guarantee the project will proceed – it acknowledges that a significant project requires a rigorous assessment process with the community able to have its say on the project,” Mr Broe said.

There will also be an extended eight week period for comment – double the standard period.

The proponent is preparing a description document for the public’s review which will provide the new scope for the project.

This document will be made available once the draft terms of reference are released.

[ENDS] 14 November 2012

Media contact:
John Wiseman  3224 4600