Activist leader equates coal mine to 'gas factory'

NEW Hope’s Colton hard coking coal project in Queensland has faced improbable criticism from an activist group.

Blair Price

The Aldershot and District Against Mining group has already appealed the project’s environmental approval with a hearing in the Land Court expected in September.

Another activist group, Coal Free Wide Bay Burnett, is expected to hold a meeting in Maryborough over the project later this week.

This group’s president Vicki Perrin told the ABC the Colton mine would release wastewater into the Mary River and provide only around 100 jobs.

She then somehow associated the mining project with the gas industry.

"Maryborough will be surrounded by invasive industrial gas fields," she reportedly said.

"You're no longer living in a rural landscape any more, you are living in a gas factory, so we want lots of people talking about that, finding more information, talking to the companies even ... we're not anti-industry information, we'd like both sides.

"So until it can be proven to be safe, we're saying no."

New Hope is not commenting on any Colton matters due to the court case.

Located at Maryborough with the project area’s far northwestern fringe located closest to the coast – perhaps 20km away – the Colton site hosts a historic mine where small scale underground mining took place from 1865 until the late 1990s.

New Hope inherited the project courtesy of its 2011 takeover of explorer Northern Energy.

The project aims to rail coal 270km to Gladstone’s port and is targeting 500,000 tonnes per annum of premium-grade hard coking coal over an 8-10 year mine life.

Coal projects have faced unwarranted CSG-related criticism before. Hume Coal’s namesake underground coal project in New South Wales is also having challenges convincing people it is not a CSG development.