700 new jobs a step closer for Darling Downs

Published Friday, 19 December, 2014 at 06:10 PM

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

Hundreds of regional jobs could be created after Queensland’s independent Coordinator General approved the $900 million New Acland Coal Mine expansion near Oakey.

Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney said the Coordinator General’s approval is subject to 137 strict conditions to manage the project’s impact.

“Today’s decision from the Coordinator General is a significant step towards construction of this mine and great economic news for the Darling Downs and south-east Queensland,” Mr Seeney said.

“This mine expansion is set to create over 250 jobs during construction and another 435 operational jobs, as well as providing business opportunities in the nearby towns of Dalby, Oakey, Pittsworth and others.

“The reduced scope of this project in response to local concerns is a good example of a resource company working hard to achieve community confidence.”

Mr Seeney said the Newman Government had not supported New Acland Coal’s original 2007 expansion plan due to its effect on high quality agricultural land and proximity to local townships.

“However since 2012, the proponent has reduced the project’s footprint by around 60 per cent and has relinquished 1,401 hectares or 28% of the mining lease area, including the town of Acland,” he said.

Other significant changes include:

  • Preserving the course of Lagoon Creek
  • Moving the Jondaryan rail load-out facility eight kilometres from the town
  • Moving mining activity 10 kilometres from Oakey
  • No relocation ofthe heritage-listed New Acland colliery
  • Reducing the impact on Strategic Cropping Land by around 2300 hectares
  • Reducing throughput from up to 10 million tonnes a year to a maximum of 7.5 million tonnes a year
  • reducing of the proposed mine life from 2042 to 2029.

The Coordinator General has imposed strict conditions to protect land and groundwater, including baseline studies and ongoing monitoring of water bores.

Other key conditions in the Coordinator-General’s report include:

  • The new rail load-out facility, located 8km away from the town of Jondaryan must transport all product from day one of operating the Stage 3 project – thereby replacing the existing Jondaryan rail load-out facility which is just 1km from the town.
  • Stringent noise and dust limits that require best practice, adaptive real-time dust and noise monitoring and management systems which alarms to notify if limits are close to being met, allowing for an immediate change in mine activities.
  • A new sealed road from Acland to Jondaryan.
  • Establishment of a flora and fauna conservation zone along the section of Lagoon Creek in the mining lease area, with a particular focus on improving koala habitat
  • Independent verification of the design and construction of the rail spur infrastructure to minimise any potential flooding impacts.

The New Acland mine expansion will now be considered by the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment for approval under the EPBC Act. If approved, the proponents would then need to seek State Government approval for a mining lease under the Mineral Resources Act 1989 and an Environmental Authority under the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

To view the Coordinator-General’s report or to find out more about the project visit www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/newacland

[ENDS] 19 December 2014

Media Contact: Jane Paterson 0417 281 754