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Mt Beppo ready to declare itself a mining free zone

Deb Edwards (seen here with husband Dave at the gate of their Mt Beppo property) says 86% of local residents want a "coal free" future for the region.
Deb Edwards (seen here with husband Dave at the gate of their Mt Beppo property) says 86% of local residents want a "coal free" future for the region. Derek Barry

SOMERSET region communities will declare themselves "mining-free" at a public ceremony at Esk on Saturday.

The Mt Beppo Community Action Group says a survey found 86% of local residents supported mining-free neighbourhoods.

Group spokesperson Deb Edwards said the ceremony was purely symbolic but was a way of showing the community stood united, as well as bringing the issue to a wider audience.

"Brisbane's water catchment area would suffer if there was any mining activity in the Brisbane Valley," Ms Edwards said.

"We are also concerned about the impact on groundwater quality, health and tourism."

Ms Edwards said the declaration would cover Mt Beppo, Coal Creek, Ottaba and the Esk-Crows Nest Rd, all of which were subject to exploratory drilling by the Coalbank company earlier in the year.

"In 2012 the Somerset Regional Council declared a moratorium on mining and this is in support of that stance," she said.

Ms Edwards said Brisbane Valley was too precious to throw away to mining companies to make a quick buck.

"The Newman has allowed Coalbank Ltd to drill exploratory wells in the Wivenhoe Dam, Brisbane's primary drinking water supply, while refusing to rule out the catchment area to mining," she said.

 "Coalbank say that two of their drill sites were successful so they will be back in our region."

The event will be on at 10am on Saturday in Esk Memorial Park, Ipswich St.

Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann and councillors, MPs Deb Frecklington, Shayne Neumann and Lockyer Mayor Steve Jones have been invited.

Topics:  coalbank, esk, lock the gate alliance, mt beppo, somerset regional council


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