A New Acland coal mine pit.
A New Acland coal mine pit. Stuart Cumming

New Hope Group warns of potential job losses

A MINING company has warned if its expansion application is not approved hundreds of people would lose their jobs.

The New Hope Group's warning came one day after an activist group met with Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham  urging him to use legal advice the group obtained to reject the New Acland mine stage three expansion.

Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton believes the decision on the expansion will be made within the next two weeks.

"This is a large coal mine on the fertile eastern Darling Downs, on strategic cropping land, in a closely settled area and will heavily impact on surface and underground water," Mr Hutton said.

New Hope managing director Shane Stephan said stage three would deliver a $12 billion boost to the economy over the life of the mine.

"The current stage two of the mine is due to finish operations in 2017 or so, meaning if stage three is not approved, hundreds of employees will lose their jobs, plus thousands more indirect jobs will be lost in the region," he said.

"The revised New Acland stage three project will extend the life of the current operation to about 2029, taking the number of full-time operational jobs to about 435, and creating another 260 jobs during the construction phase.

"The number of full-time contractors will increase to around 170 positions, and indirect jobs will grow by more than 1500. "

But Mr Hutton has called upon the Labor government to "clean up this state by stopping the mine".

"The previous government broke its pre-election promise to protect farmland from coal mining and stop the Acland expansion," he said.

"The Labor party said it would look into whether it could undo the Newman government's betrayal and stop the mine.

"Our advice is that they can, and that's what they need to do."

Before Labor came to power Dr Lynham told the ABC he did not personally support the expansion.

He would not confirm whether this was still his position.

Dr Lynham's spokesperson said the project had a range of approval steps ahead yet, as well as meeting the 137 conditions set by the coordinator-general.

"The Palaszczuk government is currently meeting its election commitment to scrutinise the approval processes and the impact of the mine on the local community," the spokesperson said.

"Our priority is jobs but we will always balance economic development with environmental sustainability, the need to protect prime agricultural land and the public interest."



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