NOT HAPPY: Kingaroy residents say the economic benefits the mine could provide do not outweigh the health risks
NOT HAPPY: Kingaroy residents say the economic benefits the mine could provide do not outweigh the health risks Michael Nolan

Proposed coal mine would create up to 600 new jobs

THE proposed thermal coal mine in the South Burnett would create up to 500 new operational jobs, according to the project's developer.

In a feasibility statement released to ASX at the end of last year, Moreton Resources Ltd claimed a further 300-600 jobs would be created to build the mine and the 131km-long transport corridor through the western reaches of othe Gympie region to Theebine.

"Proceeding with the project will enhance the substantial contribution that industry in the South Burnett region already makes towards maintaining a higher level of sustainable social and economic activity in the region,” the statement says.

Moreton Resources and its subsidiary MRV Tarong Basin Coal were unavailable for comment this week but had said the construction jobs would be contracted for up to two years.

The entire project will take one to three years from the beginning of construction to becoming fully operational.

Once construction was complete, jobs will focus solely on the operation and maintenance of the mine and transport link.

Employing local residents has been described as paramount in the feasibility report, perhaps in an attempt to ease tensions between the company and South Burnett residents.

Special attention is also being shown towards the region's indigenous community, with the inclusion of the creation of a Cultural Heritage Management Plan.

"Historically, senior members of the community have had high success in working with indigenous groups,” the report adds.

"A core ethos of the organisation will be to support and progress the opportunities afforded to the region's indigenous population.”

As it stands, this relationship is fraught with controversy. Moreton Resources, originally named Cougar Energy, was responsible for a disastrous foray into underground coal gasification, when carcinogenic benzene found its way into local bore water in 2011.

The $550 million project was immediately shut down, and was one of the key contributing factors to the total ban of underground coal gasification in Queensland.

"It's clear Moreton is using job creation and the economic benefits of the plant as the main hook to convince people,” says John Dalton from the Kingaroy Concerned Citizens community group, which is opposed to the mine. "But when you weigh up the potential hazards and health risks it could cause, you can see why the majority of Kingaroy is against this project.”

Gympie Times


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