A $900 million expansion of the New Acland coal mine near Oakey is back on track after the Supreme Court of Queensland overturned a previous ruling by the Land Court.
The Supreme Court found grounds for review have been established in the areas of groundwater, noise and intergenerational equity. The matter has been referred back to the Land Court for further consideration.
Mine owner New Hope Corporation welcomed the judgment on New Acland Coal Mine’s Stage Three Project in a statement to the ASX.
“We remain committed to securing approval for this project and in doing so being able to provide ongoing employment for the circa 700 jobs reliant on the project,” New Hope said.
Impacts on groundwater appears unlikely to be a significant issue as the mine uses recycled water sourced from Toowoomba in the operation.
An expansion would see the continuation of about 600 jobs.
The Oakey Coal Action Alliance has vowed to continue fighting the project.
Alliance spokesperson Paul King said his group was particularly concerned that the Supreme Court had found the Land Court did not have the power to fully consider groundwater issues.
“This raises major issues and recasts the way that environmental law relating to water issues has been understood in Queensland for a long time,” Mr King said.
“We are currently still reviewing the very lengthy decision and taking further advice on it.
LNP leader Deb Frecklington welcomed the decision saying there were hundreds of jobs and several communities depending on the continuation of New Hope’s coal mining operation.
“The Palaszczuk government should have respected the current legal process and not refused the application to amend the environmental authority for the New Acland stage 3 project,” Ms Frecklington said.
“The matter will now be reconsidered by the Land Court. As always the LNP will respect this process.”
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