ACCC rules mines could deal as one on dam agreement

A GROUP of seven mines have been told they may work together to negotiate on deal to be take water from the yet-to-be-built Nathan Dam in Central Queensland.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ruled on Wednesday that Cockatoo Coal, Cuesta Coal, MetroCoal, Peabody Energy, Australia PCI, QC Resource Investments and Whitehaven Coal could deal as one when hammering out an agreement with dam owner SunWater.

If built, the Nathan Dam will from 70km downstream of Taroom, supply water to mining, power, residential and agricultural customers, according to the SunWater website.

ACCC gave interim approval to the deal in December despite Cotton Australia making a submission that it would create a "cartel" of mine companies involved in a water deal which made few allowances for irrigators.

The Queensland Farmers Federation too asked for the dam not to be built until all potential impacts on growers in the region were examined.

In its decision on Wednesday, the ACCC found all mining firms negotiating together would allow all parties to save money and help coal miners access the water sooner.


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