Hancock – GVK Alpha coal mine in the Galilee Basin set to go ahead
Queensland Supreme Court judge James Douglas has dismissed a legal hurdle posed by Queensland farmers and environmentalists – bringing the huge Alpha coal mine in the Galilee Basin just that little bit closer to being a reality.
This is great news for Queensland miners, who have been sweating on the fence for over 2 years as lower coal prices stripped vital jobs from underneath them.
Whilst communities, built on coal mining jobs have withered like a old oak because of the shift in the coal market, which was driven by China’s reduced reliance on imported coal because of their slow down in economic development.
Huge thermal coal project in central Queensland
GVK Hancock, in which Ms Rinehart† has a share, has still to be approved for a mining lease. It’s understood that mine finance also needs to be sourced for the huge thermal coal project, in central Queensland.
The Supreme Court decision is a positive signal being sent to other mining companies who have big plans to develop similar thermal coal assets in the vast Galilee Basin. Of course, the most well-known of them is Indian based Adani, with their proposed Carmichael mine having been delayed once again after a Federal Court challenge by the Mackay Conservation Group last month.
Thousands of construction jobs
Adani has put on hold its plans to develop 3 open cut and 2 underground mines at the Carmichael mine. Thousands of construction jobs were at stake with many more full time jobs lasting decades – just to keep the mine operational.
Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said today`s decision by Justice Douglas was still able to be appealed, so he declined to comment in case he put his foot in it.
Australia exporting record coal tonnage
However, Dr Lynham said the ever-popular Palaszczuk government (Queensland) was confident that development of the coal-rich Galilee Basin would still be a reality, even though coal prices had ‘hit the skids’. Although, let’s take into account the fact that Australia has been exporting record coal tonnage of late to various locations in Asia.
GVK spokesman Josh Euler said the Supreme Court decision on the Alpha mine showed everything GVK Hancock had done in terms of environmental regulation and assessments was on-the-level.
“We really have invested tens of millions of dollars on environmental assessments in relation to a broad range of environmental impacts including groundwater,”Ě he said outside the court.
“We have undertaken one of the most comprehensive hydrogeological assessments in the area.”Ě
Mr Euler said the GVK Hancock Alpha mine would create around 2000 direct mining jobs in Queensland over 30 years.
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