Farmers front mine hearing

AFTER spending more than $100,000 on legal fees and expert advice, a central Queensland farming family is standing alone against a multi-billion-dollar mining project to be built on their doorstep.

Paul and Janeice Anderson are landholders fighting multi-national miner GVK Hancock's plan to develop an enormous mine within 20km of their 25,000ha cattle grazing properties, west of Mackay.

GVK Hancock - jointly owned by Indian firm GVK and Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting - has state and federal approval to build the $3.2 billion Alpha coal mine in the Galilee Basin.

The Land Court battle was in its fourth day yesterday.

Ms Anderson gave evidence on negotiations with GVK Hancock in an effort to refute an alleged implication that the farmers were being unreasonable in their demands. On behalf of Paul and Janeice, Paul's brother and property co-owner Peter Anderson said the family wanted a substantial "make-good agreement" from GVK Hancock.

This deal would protect their water supplies from any potential impact caused by the mine.

The Andersons have spent close to $120,000 on legal advice and for a hydro-geologist to investigate the risks to its water supplies but are now representing themselves.

"We are not trying to stop their mine or be obstructionist," Mr Anderson said.

"If we strike a make-good agreement with GVK Hancock and it is never needed, we'll be happy to admit they are right and we didn't need it."

GVK Hancock did not respond to questions.


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