Submissions against coal mine flood in

THE owners of Bimblebox Nature Refuge near Alpha were "enormously encouraged" after more than 1800 public submissions against Clive Palmer's Waratah Coal China First Project were lodged with the government.

Owner Paola Cassoni said it delivered a clear message to the State Government.

"We have been enormously encouraged by the public response to Waratah Coal's Environmental Impact Statement," Ms Cassoni said.

"Over 1800 submissions were sent to the Queensland Coordinator-General by concerned people and groups throughout Australia, and even some from overseas.

"The public is not going to sit idle while there are plans to destroy our precious conservation areas for the sake of new coal developments."

The China First project looks to clear 52% of the refuge for an open-cut coal mine, and the rest will be affected by underground work. Speaking at a landholder rights rally in Emerald in January, another Bimblebox owner, Carl Rudd, said he was devastated the China First Project would destroy his "legacy".

"We have a passion for nature preservation, just like many of you have a passion for producing food," Mr Rudd said.

"On one hand landholders are encouraged to improve conservation outcomes, on the other hand it's all taken away. I wanted to leave a legacy, a nature conservation legacy, and it looks like my legacy will be an open-cut coal mine."

A spokesman for the Co-ordinator General said many of the submission writers were concerned with the potential impact of the mine. "The submissions and the proponent's response to the submissions, along with advice from government agencies… will be taken into account by the Co-ordinator General in his consideration of the project," the spokesman said.

"At the end of the process the Co-ordinator General will publish a report recommending whether or not the project should proceed.

"If the report recommends the project should proceed, it will stipulate conditions that should apply to any approvals detailing how potential environmental impacts, including impacts on the values of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge, will be avoided, mitigated or offset."

Waratah Coal was contacted yesterday but no reply was forthcoming by the time of printing.

Public comment on the EIS closed on December 19.

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