PROPONENTS of New Hope Group's revised Acland Coal Mine expansion are spruiking the major concessions the company has made while its opponents are wary of promises from a company they don't trust.
New Hope Group Chief Operating Officer Bruce Denney said his company had made a significant number of compromises in forming what he considered an acceptable plan.
"While these compromises significantly downsize future operations, levels of employment and financial input into the region and the state, they also allow the mine to continue operation at a sensible level past the current closure date of 2017," Mr Denney said.
New Hope was involved in ongoing discussions with relevant Government departments and an Environmental Impact Statement process on the revised plan was under way.
"While we are working to ensure approval, there is no certainty that this will be received."
Member for Condamine and LNP defector Ray Hopper said he would be working with the Oakey Coal Action Alliance in their opposition to the proposal.
He said Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney had signalled he would support the revised project prior to last month's release of draft Terms of Reference.
"I met with Jeff Seeney and the Coordinator General," Mr Hopper said.
"I thought, 'these people are going to do this'."
A spokesman for Mr Seeney's office said the LNP made it clear during the election that it would not support the mine's expansion plans as then proposed because it would impact on good agricultural land and was too close to communities.
"This was conveyed to New Hope Coal after the election of the Newman Government," the spokesman said.
"Subsequently New Hope Coal, on its own initiative, has put forward a revised proposal and the government is prepared to have this scaled down project examined by the Coordinator-General."
He said the Coordinator General would determine and issue the final Terms of Reference for the Environmental Impact Statement in March or April next year.
"Going through an EIS process is no guarantee the project will proceed."
New plans provide chance to restore historic site
THE opportunity to restore the historic site they owned for more than 30 years is an exciting prospect for John and Kath Greenhalgh.
Mr and Mrs Greenhalgh lived on an Acland farm for 33 years until 2006 when they sold their property to New Hope Group and moved to Oakey.
About half of their time on the farm was dedicated to the creation and maintenance of a museum in the old Acland Coal Company mine situated on their property.
"We've always been interested in history," Mr Greenhalgh said.
Now that the plans have been changed, should the third stage of the Acland coal mine be allowed to go ahead?
This poll ended on 07 January 2013.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"Anywhere we have ever gone, I've always wanted to know what happened before we got there."
A revision of New Hope Group's proposed New Acland Coal Mine stage three expansion meant the company no longer planned on mining the Acland No 2 Colliery.
Previous plans to relocate sections of the colliery to Jondaryan have been shelved as part of the proposal.
Mrs Greenhalgh said she would love to reform the Acland Historic Coal Mine Association.
"I want to know from the company, what is going to happen now?
"Can we go back and start up our organisation?"
- Relocating the Jondaryan Rail Loading Facility eight kilometres further away from the township
- Moving mining operations further away from Oakey - operations will now be 10km from Oakey at its closest point
- Reducing the mining footprint by 63 per cent from the original Stage 3 proposal
- Preserving Acland township
- No diversion of Lagoon Ck
- Reduction in potential strategic cropping land impact by 446 hectares, with 427 ha of potential strategic cropping land to be disturbed rather than 873 ha
Mr Greenhalgh said the disappointing thing was the amount of time the process had taken to reach its current point.
"The place is just falling apart.
"Who is going to look after it?"
New Hope Group Chief Operating Officer Bruce Denney said under the revised proposal, the Acland town area, including the Tom Doherty Park, the War Memorial and the Acland No 2 Colliery, would be preserved.
"As the landowner of the Acland No 2 Colliery, the New Hope Group will now engage with relevant stakeholders about the preservation of this and other heritage items," he said.
Resident fears expansion could intensify floods
JONDARYAN resident Doris Lander is concerned New Hope Group's promise to spare Lagoon Ck from mining activity will not reduce the potential flood risk to her small town.
While Miss Lander was pleased with the mining company's concession, she was worried mining of the surrounding catchment area would intensify any floods.
"If they are mining the catchment, they are not going to want that water on their mine," Miss Lander said.
"I've been here for nearly 30 years.
"I know we have a flood issue."
She was also wary of New Hope's promise to move the Jondaryan coal loading facility eight kilometres from the town.
"They have been promising to move it for 10 years now."
New Hope claims:
- Employ up to 220 people in peak construction phase and about 400 employees and 170 full time equivalent contractors in peak operational phase
- Provide an annual $530 million injection into the south-east Queensland economy and $8 billion over the life of the mine
- Terms of reference at www.dsdip.qld.gov.au /newacland
- Public submissions in writing to Coordinator-General by 5pm, February 4, 2013.
New Hope Group chief operating officer Brian Denney said the Environmental Impact Statement process would investigate surface water management, including during extreme weather conditions.
"The regulations we operate under state that no discharge of water is allowed from the mine site except under exceptional circumstances."
Mr Denney said New Hope was committed to moving the Jondaryan rail loading facility.
"The cost of this major relocation project is in excess of $62 million.
"Like any business . . . we can't spend that sort of money until we have certainty about the future."
Final resident claims State Government going "soft" on Acland mine
ACLAND'S sole remaining resident Glenn Beutel believes the State Government has softened its approach to New Hope's Acland expansion since coming to power earlier this year.
"The impression they gave before the election was a complete rejection of Stage Three," Mr Beutel said.
"Subsequent to the election, they seem to be leaning a little more towards the company's side.
"It seems they are going down the same path as the former government.
"Everyone sort of thinks it is a done deal."
Mr Beutel said he appreciated some of the concessions the company had made in its revised proposal.
"It is important the (Acland War) Memorial is going to stay.
"It is a shame the government and company even threatened its sacredness."
He said he still opposed the expansion of the mine.
"It seems like a further loss of valuable agricultural land."
New Hope Group chief operating officer Brian Denney said Mr Beutel had the right to live in Acland if he so desired.
"Permanent access and utility services to Acland will be maintained over the life of the revised project,'' Mr Denney said.
"The access to Acland will be maintained from the south of the township."
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