Green groups seek law change after Colton mine court win

The proposed Colton open cut coal mine, near Maryborough, won a legal challenge on Thursday.
The proposed Colton open cut coal mine, near Maryborough, won a legal challenge on Thursday. Robert Rough

GREEN groups have called for Queensland's mine approval system to be overhauled in the wake of the Colton coal mine's legal victory.

The Queensland Land Court on Thursday recommended the mine outside Maryborough be approved but said miner New Hope will have to adhere to stricter noise level conditions.

The Queensland Government is yet to approve the mine.

Land Court member William Isdale ruled the mine would not have an impact on the nearby Mary River.

New Hope experts told the court only "chemically benign" stored rainwater would be released into the river. They said water used to wash coal would not be released.

"In the present case, the evidence which has been provided to the court establishes that the quality requirements imposed for the discharge of water into the Mary River are such that the release does not pose a threat of serious or irreversible environmental damage," Mr Isdale said.

Wide Bay Burnett Protection Alliance spokeswoman Vicki Perrin said she was disappointed with the court's decision.

"Unfortunately, this judgment shows that the laws in Queensland are not strong enough to protect people and communities from the negative impacts of mining," she said.

"It is outrageous that a whole community of people can be sacrificed for a coal mine that puts their health at risk from dangerous coal dust particles in the air, and from airborne dust contaminating the tank water which they all rely on for drinking."

The court ruled there was no evidence that the people of Aldershot's health was at risk from the mine.

Mr Isdale ordered New Hope to introduce revised noise limits after hearing evidence from the government.

The Colton mine is expected to produce about 5 million tonnes of coking coal. After 10 years of operation the open cut will be about 3km from the nearest house.

New Hope Group did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.


Topics:  coal colton mine environment land court new hope

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