The New Acland Coal Mine, owned and managed by New Acland Coal Pty Ltd, a New Hope Group company, has played a key role in the Darling Downs region as an employer and economic contributor since it began operation in October 2002.
In March 2012, the incoming State LNP Government announced it did not support the proposed New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 Project in its then current form. Taking this on board, New Hope has been in discussions with the State Government about options to continue the operation at the mine, thus ensuring current jobs and economic benefits related to the New Acland operations can be maintained.
New Hope has listened to community and government concerns relating to the previous proposal and has developed a revised version of this plan that addresses these issues. Without the approval of the revised New Acland continuation project, the New Acland operation will close in 2017.
Currently, the mine is a major economic contributor to the region, providing a $300 million injection annually into south-east Queensland’s economy and $110 million each year to the Darling Downs. Hundreds of livelihoods are dependent on New Acland and have been for a decade. The operation employs more than 300 local people directly, and provides a further 160 full-time contractor jobs and 2,300 indirect jobs. The revised Project will ensure current employment and economic benefits are not lost to the Darling Downs and that New Hope continues to be a major employer in the region.
Key features of the New Acland Continuation Plan:
- Under New Hope’s revised Project, the Acland town area, including the Tom Doherty Park, the War Memorial and the Acland No 2 Colliery, would be left in place. Permanent access and utility services to Acland will be maintained over the life of the revised Project.
- The revised Project will mean that the closest point of potential mining operations will be located at least 10km away from the township of Oakey, compared with 7km as previously proposed.
- From the original Stage 3 proposal, there will be an overall reduction in the total amount of land disturbed for mining activities by more than half.
- As part of the revised Project, the train loading facility will be relocated from near Jondaryan to a remote site on the mining lease area.
- In May 2013, New Hope introduced veneering to coat all transported coal leaving the mine by train as a measure to reduce the potential for coal dust coming from trains. New Hope consistently meets strict government requirements in relation to dust.
- The new plans will also ensure that Lagoon Creek is not diverted. Operations will continue to be self-sufficient for water, with water continuing to be purchased from Toowoomba’s Wetalla Wastewater Reclamation Facility. Only around 20% of the Wetalla water is purchased by New Hope.
- As a result of the revised project, production levels from the New Acland operation under this continuation proposal will be reduced by at least 25%, from the originally proposed 10mtpa.
On 1 December 2012, the Queensland Coordinator-General reissued a draft Terms of Reference for the revised project, which were made available for public comment. Following on from this process, the final Terms of Reference were released. Further information about the final ToR is available in the approvals process section.
The revised Project will be subject to rigorous scientific and environmental assessment by the State Government through the regular Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) processes.
New Hope will also continue to work in partnership with neighbours, local residents, government agencies and other key stakeholders in further developing the project.
Further information is available in the FAQ section.
Final Terms of Reference
On 26 March 2013, the Queensland Coordinator-General released the final Terms of Reference (ToR) for the New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 Project. The ToR set out the matters that must be considered by New Hope when preparing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the revised Project.
The ToR provide a clear direction for the full EIS investigations into social, environmental, economic and cultural implications and the development of appropriate management strategies to be conducted.
The final Terms of Reference are available below:
On 17 January 2014, the Coordinator-General released the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the revised New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 Project.
The EIS responds to the matters defined by the Terms of Reference and includes a range of environmental assessments and technical studies.
The EIS was prepared by specialist consultants and investigates the environmental, social and economic implications of the revised Project.
It assesses the revised Project’s potential impacts and benefits on the surrounding environment and community and develops appropriate management and mitigation strategies.
The EIS was informed by a comprehensive community consultation process.
New Hope will continue to involve the community through all stages of the approvals process in partnership with local residents and stakeholders to develop the revised Project.
The community and stakeholders will be able to comment on the EIS during the public consultation period until 3 March 2014.
Following public comment, the Coordinator General will evaluate the EIS and prepare an Assessment Report, which will determine if the revised Project can proceed and will also determine any conditions of approval.
The EIS will also be assessed by the Commonwealth Government Department of the Environment for relevant approvals or conditions.
View the New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 Project Environmental Impact Statement EXECUTIVE SUMMARY here.
To review the Revised Project Overview, please visit the Coordinator General's website by clicking here.
Further information is available in the FAQ section.
Community Information Sessions
New Hope held four community information sessions in February 2014 to answer questions from local residents and other stakeholders about the revised Project and the EIS.
The sessions were held in Jondaryan, Goombungee, Acland and Oakey.