COAL PROJECT: An application for open-cut mining at New Chum has been submitted to the State Government.
COAL PROJECT: An application for open-cut mining at New Chum has been submitted to the State Government. David Nielsen

Council urges opposition to open-cut mining plan

OPEN-cut mining could begin at a disused coal mine at New Chum unless a last-minute campaign against it is successful.

Residents only have until next Friday to have their say on proposed amendments to the mining lease.

Ipswich Deputy Mayor Victor Attwood said the city council had been advised by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection that Oxley Plant Sales plans to start open-cut mining of a number of parcels of land at New Chum.

"We're trying to stop the mine," Cr Attwood said.

"We've just finished putting our submission together. We don't support it and we would like to see it knocked on the head.

"It has the potential to introduce dust, especially coal dust, to the area.

"I don't believe there should be mining in residential areas; it's only 550m from houses in Blackstone.

"It's not far from Cooneana Homestead and not far from Transpacific's waste facility.

"Obviously the applicant is applying for a small operation just to get the foot in the door, but it has the potential to escalate to a bigger and bigger operation."

He said the application involved amending the provision for underground mining and open-cut mining on an area bounded by the Cunningham Hwy to the west, Redbank Plains Rd to the south and Austin St to the east.

"If the proposed change occurs, mining within this lease would be limited to open-cut mining only rather than both open-cut and underground," he said.

He encouraged the community to make submissions to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and the Department of Mines and Energy.

Cr Attwood said the council was outraged that the mining lease included the Redbank Plains Rd reserve.

"It even includes land not owned by Oxley Plant Sales such as land owned by council at Redbank Plains Rd, New Chum," he said.

In its application, Oxley Plant Sales (OPS) said it wished to carry out an active mining program on Mining Lease 4582, five kilometres from the centre of Ipswich, in two phases.

Until 1993 ML4582 was owned by Rhondda Collieries before it was acquired by New Hope Collieries, which continued to operate there until 1996.

Oxley Plant Sales acquired the lease in 2008. The mining tenement is listed as covering 40.44 hectares.

OPS proposes to start "small open-cut mining activity in 2013-2014" with activity scheduled to continue until 2022-2023.

"Open-cut mining is to occur primarily to obtain the remaining coal resources from previous underground mining campaigns," it said.

The plan would be for the coal to be used mainly for steam generation but "there exists the possibility that the coal removed may in fact be used to create alternative fuels or fuel blends as it is considered that it is of such a quality that this could occur".

Its application added: "The nearest residential area is on the opposite side of the Cunningham Hwy and therefore is unlikely to be affected by the mining project.

"It is OPS's intention to rehabilitate the site so that it is appropriate for industrial use."

Submissions can be lodged in writing at Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, ES-RSD-SER-Ipswich, PO Box 875, Ipswich, Queensland 4305.


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