Mining giant Glencore has the been granted the first mining leases for a major coal development in the Surat Basin in Queensland’s south-west.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham approved the grant of three 27-year leases over 30,000ha for Stage One of Glencore’s proposed $7 billion Wandoan coal project near Roma.
When operational, a new mine could produce up to 22 million tonnes of high-quality thermal coal annually.
The Minister said this would be the first major coal project of this scale in the Surat Basin, and still required a rail link to the Port of Gladstone for export.
Lock the Gate Alliance has slammed the approval as an attack on the future of agriculture in Queensland.
“The approval of this mine by Minister Anthony Lynham marks a very dark day for farming in Queensland,” said Lock the Gate spokesperson Carmel Flint.
“The mine will extract 22 million tonnes of coal each year for 35 years and destroy up to 32,000 hectares of farmland on the Western Downs.
“A large number of farmers have already been displaced by Glencore over this vast area, and now we fear that remaining farmers on and near the lease will be forced out.
“This project will be eligible for a secretive Queensland Government loan via the royalty deferral package announced in June.
“So, Queenslanders are expected to subsidise mining giant Glencore for five years as it rips through one of our core agricultural regions.
“This announcement follows close on the heels of the Federal approval of the Nathan Dam, which is designed to provide water for Glencore to wash their dirty, low quality coal.”