Great Letter Objections to expansion of Acland mine

Honour Rosser

Great Letter Objections to expansion of Acland mine 

By NOEL WIECK, Brymaroo

The letter from Brett Shaw re New Acland Coal Mine expansion (Herald 3/3/15) is an example of not letting the facts get in the way of a good argument.

The modified stage 3 mine expansion does not comply with the Queensland Mining Resources Act which requires that land disturbed by mining be rehabilitated as near as possible to its original condition.

New Hope plans to leave three voids covering more than 4.5 square kilometres which will form lakes evaporating up to 2000 megalitres of water annually.

New Hope ran TV advertisements last year claiming to be environmentally responsible water users.
In the first line of their October 2014 newsletter, the previous general manager of New Acland Coal stated that every drop of water was precious to New Hope.

The Environmental Impact Statement for stage 3 states that water bores in the vicinity of the Manning Vale West pit will experience water drawdown of 47 metres. There will be permanent drawdown of water bores up to eight kilometres away.
I have traced the underground stream on which my licensed intensive stock-water bore is located for three kilometres in a semicircular route to the mine site. Several hundred cattle rely on this bore for drinking water. I have traced a network of underground streams which originate a kilometre inside my property to a point in the mine pit a kilometre down the valley from the proposed starting point.

I have experienced bore failure in the past from mine activities and I believe I have good reason to believe I will experience permanent bore failure if this unlawful mine gains approval.
I challenge Mr Shaw to provide his evidence that there will be no aquifer damage. The map outlining the three pits of modified stage 3 was released almost three years ago.
The EIS was released for public comment 13 months ago.

I have asked mine officials on several occasions how deep the basalt overburden is at the northern end of the west pit and they have stated that they don’t know. The reason being, the mine boundaries have not yet been determined as exploration drilling is still taking place and is hundreds of metres outside the mapped area.

This makes a complete mockery of the EIS process.
So much for Mr Shaw’s claim that the mine is at the pointy end of environmental compliance.

“Open cut mining should only occur on land of grazing standard because that is the only standard it can be rehabilitated to.” - Noel Wieck.

The public should be also made aware that modified stage 3 was conceived out of bribery and corruption between New Hope and the former LNP government.

Former Minister Seeney, when announcing the modified Stage 3 claimed that it reduced the agricultural footprint by 56 per cent.
When interviewed on ABC radio about August last year, he stated “I think we have the balance right between mining and agriculture with this project.”

Then, in a subdued voice, he said that they still had to deal with the issue of Strategic Cropping Land.
Some weeks later he repealed the Strategic Cropping Land Act and replaced it with the RPI Act. This act gives the minister discretion when approving resource projects.
This is a recipe for further bribery and corruption.

I agree with Mr Shaw that modified stage 3 is vastly different to the original stage 3.
These are the words that local MP Frecklington used almost three years ago to justify her and the LNP’s backflip on New Acland expansion.

She claimed her rural background would assist her to carry out her new role as Opposition agriculture spokesperson.
She was taken on a tour of the modified stage area by local landholders. Her rural background didn’t help her decision making then.

Former Agricultural Minister McVeigh, when interviewed on the ABC Country Hour shortly before the recent election, claimed that he grew up near Jondaryan and that the land around Acland mine was near and dear to him, yet as Agricultural Minister he
did nothing to protect the top quality cropping land on the mine site.

The reason that these three politicians have made these statements is that their primary motivation was to reward New Hope for its large donation to the LNP. The original stage 3 was planned to mine the entire district.

The 56 per cent that Mr Seeney mentioned that will not be mined is almost entirely poor quality land but the modified stage 3 is on land that was completely covered under Strategic Cropping Land legislation.

SCL legislation stated that mining projects that did not have an approved EIS would have to conform to the provisions of the SCL act.
Obviously, a political favour has been granted, or modified stage 3 would have been disqualified by the SCL Act.
You see Mr Shaw, it is the dishonesty and deception of politicians and mine management that has caused the back lash by your so called noisy minority.
Those who have objected to expansion of New Acland are well informed responsible citizens who are committed to saving a valuable natural resource.

Mr Shaw, you and your workmates can claim to have all the environmental credentials you wish but that will not alter the fact that for every tonne of coal you mine at Acland, when the energy, required to extract the coal and transport it to its overseas destination, is accounted for, will result in more than four tonnes of carbon dioxide discharged into the atmosphere.

Graeme Sait, a Queensland based soil biologist, stated in a recent article in the Rural Weekly that if the carbon balance was not restored, the human race could become extinct by the end of the century.
He also stated that if the world’s cropping lands were managed using biological practises the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could be reduced from its current 400 parts per million to 300 parts per million.

I have 54 years’ experience farming world class Darling Downs soil.  I have visited a large number of farms in highly productive areas of several European countries and I have visited a large number of farms in three states in the American mid-west corn belt, probably the most productive grain growing region in the world but I did not see any soil that would come close to what New Hope are planning to trash at New Acland.

My advice to you Mr Shaw, is to open your other eye and try to see past your own short term interest.
You might then realise that coal mining at Acland is an unsustainable practice the planet cannot afford and that you are also destroying the solution to the carbon dioxide problem by destroying high quality cropping land.

The bottom line is that if open cut mining is permitted it must only occur on land of a grazing standard because that is the only standard it can be rehabilitated* to. 

Yes Mr Shaw, you have destroyed a large area of cropping land with stages 1 and 2, it is time for you to let it go.

Enough is enough.