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New Acland mine expansion clears court hurdle

The New Acland coal mine’s $900 million expansion will not head back to the Queensland Land Court after clearing a major legal hurdle.

On September 18 the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from the Oakey Coal Action Allowance against the expansion of the Darling Downs-based mine but allowed a cross appeal from New Acland Coal, following the overturning of Land Court’s 2017 decision recommending mining leases be rejected was affected by apprehended bias.

The Oakey Coal Action Allowance’s appeal hinged on the argument that the Land Court did have jurisdiction to consider the impacts of the mine on groundwater while the cross appeal claimed Judge Helen Bowskill was wrong to find the Land Court’s decision was not affected by apprehended bias.

The September 18 Court of Appeal reasons could have opened the way for a rehearing of the case but on Friday the court made final orders and while it declared procedural fairness had not been accorded, subsequent decisions to grant the environmental authority were left in place.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange following the decision, parent company New Hope Group called for the state government to immediately grant the remaining mining leases, water licence and approval for the continued use of the Jondaryan loadout facility.

“Obtaining final approval as soon as possible is critical to ensuring continuity of operations and will not only provide certainty for the current workforce but help create approximately 400 new jobs in the region,” the statement read. Read more…


*Originally published in Queensland Country Life


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