Draft authority for expansion of Acland coal mine issued
THE stage 3 expansion of the Acland coal mine has cleared another obstacle, with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection issuing a draft authority for the project.
The $896 million expansion will see development of parts of the Manning Vale and Willeroo resource areas, upgrades to existing coal handling and preparation plant and supporting infrastructure, the relocation of the controversial Jondaryan rail load-out facility approximately eight kilometres away from the town of Jondaryan and the creation of a rail spur.
About 260 jobs will be created during construction and about 435 during the project's operational peak.
"We welcome news the draft environmental authority has been issued," Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche reportedly said.
"Without approval for Stage 3 of New Acland, the mine will run out of coal in 2017-18 and [the jobs of 460-plus people] will be lost."
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The environment department has placed conditions on the project covering issues such as air quality, dust emissions, noxious odours, noise, water quality and contamination limits.
Environmental group Lock the Gate Alliance has campaigned against the expansion and will be in force at Speakers Corner, Parliament House Brisbane today to report on what the Acland stage 3 announcement means to them.
A spokesman said the draft authority was not happy news for the people who'd "had their lives torn apart for many years by this mine and the threat of the expansion proposal".
Mr Roche has spoken in support of the mine's expansion and said: "We fully expect all of the green activists' bag of tricks will be deployed against the continuation of the New Acland Mine and the 435 jobs for locals it can deliver."
The nearby town of Oakey has been split on support for the expansion with some welcoming new jobs and others like activist group Oakey Coal Action Alliance raising concerns about environmental issues.