Councils could be courted so mines can move in

QUEENSLAND councils will fight miners who try to negotiate around a proposed new ban on exploration near urban areas, said Local Government Association president Paul Bell.

The Queensland government announced on Monday that no mining exploration would be allowed within 2km of any south-east Queensland town with a population of 1000 or more. The framework also gives councils a chance to opt out if they want the business.

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies chief executive Simon Bennison said miners were expected to begin wooing councils to get around the ban.

Cr Bell said it was sensible to allow communities to negotiate when exploration was planned for on the border of an exclusion zone.

“People will be protecting that 2km radius with their hearts, minds, body and soul,” he said.

“I don’t think there would be too many, or any, exclusions granted.”

AMEC threatened if there was no way around the exclusion zones, some miners could consider legal action.

“Given that the government has actually granted them a right to actually go and explore a mine and that right is a serious part of their asset base, I think the government has put itself at risk,” Mr Bennison said.

Premier Anna Bligh said the government was not worried.

“I don’t have any concerns... we will be legislating to put that beyond any doubt,” she told reporters.

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