CONTROVERSIAL large-scale coal mining near Ipswich has been shelved as Premier Anna Bligh announced plans yesterday to shut out miners from urban areas.
The Premier announced yesterday the government would force mining companies to keep away from people’s homes by banning all exploratory digging near urban areas.
Ms Bligh said the ban would apply to centres such as Ipswich, surrounding rural areas and Toowoomba.
“We will legislate that with towns of 1000 people or more, you cannot have an exploration permit within a two-kilometre buffer zone,” she said.
Opposition leader Jeff Seeney said it was “a belated admission that Labor’s mining permits were flawed”.
“You have to wonder how Labor could have allowed mining exploration permits in such close proximity to Queensland towns in the first place,” Mr Seeney said.
At the same time, mining company OGL Resources was meeting with Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale to discuss its plans for the Ipswich area.
Concerns have been raised that OGL planned to mine on 9000 hectares just west of Ipswich covered by Mining Development Licence (MDL) 172. But OGL chairman Jack Tan said MDL172 was not on the company’s agenda.
Instead, he announced open cut coal mining on an existing mine site at Ebenezer would resume, possibly as soon as next year.
Mr Tan said the company planned to continue mining at Ebenezer for about 14 years, with a rehabilitation project to follow.
“The key is our company wants to do a sustainable mine with the co-operation of the council and we intend to be good corporate citizens and comply with all the mining conditions with respect to community issues such as dust or noise,” he said.
“We also want to contribute to community groups with respect to such things as memorials and sporting clubs.”
Rural councillor David Pahlke was relieved that OGL was not considering mining in MDL172.
“I’m a lot more accepting of coal mining at Ebenezer than on 172,” Cr Pahlke said.
“There’s no coal seam gas there or its derivative, so I’m happy with that too.”
Mayor Paul Pisasale said he was happy that mining at Ebenezer would result in the rehabilitation of the site and that jobs would be created.
He said resuming mining there would create 120 direct and 800 spin-off jobs and would generate economic prosperity for Ipswich.
“So it’s gone from a wasteland to creating jobs, to finishing off the job that someone else didn’t finish before because the price of coal plummeted,” Cr Pisasale said.
“It’s a great economic result and a great environmental solution and all the fears of the community can be put aside.”
Ipswich West Greens candidate for Ipswich West Ursula Monsiegneur described Ms Bligh’s announcement as “a lot of hot air”.
“It’s a statement that’s meant to sound good and placate people in urban areas,” she said.
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