GOLDEN Triangle farmers are “prepared to go to war” with mining companies operating on their land.
Last week a group of fed-up landholders in the Central Highlands food bowl formed the Golden Triangle Action Group after the State Government failed to protect them from mining operations, group spokesman Andrew Bate said.
“This is the battle that the bush has to have, for too long mining companies have roamed the land, unchecked and without restraint, searching for the next easy acquisition. While richer seams lie under less valuable farming land, these lazy miners are now bringing their greedy aspirations to prime agricultural land, closer and closer to urban centres,” Mr Bate said.
“My home is worth fighting for and the mining companies need to know that their easy days in the sun, protected by a compliant government are coming to an end as the community of the Golden Triangle is now prepared to go to war.”
Mr Bate said the fight over Bandanna Energy’s Springsure Creek Coal Project would likely become a touchstone battle, as farmers come to blows with the State Government’s decision to grant Bandanna special consideration in its approvals process, despite the company operating on “some of the best cropping land in the state”.
He said there was unanimous support among the Golden Triangle community, and said the Bandanna exploration permit in the area covered 10% of Central Queensland’s SCL.
A Bandanna spokesman said yesterday, the company was working within the laws.
“The bottom line is the company is following a due process to the letter of the law,” the spokesman said. “We believe we have got relationships with all stakeholders in the process, which includes landholders in the area.”
The spokesman rejected claims from the GTAG that mining activities would leave the country “barren, sterile and with no future”, and said the company believed there were technologies and processes that allowed for the rejuvenation of land.
But Mr Bate said there was no example within Australia that has seen land fully rejuvenated after mining activities.
“Why would you risk your most precious farming land for a short-term windfall of mining royalties when there are so many other options available? There are 300 years of coal reserves in Queensland,” he said.
The Strategic Cropping Land debacle comes at a precarious time for Bandanna, which is reviewing international bids for the sale of its exploration assets.
An Indian news source recently reported the sales process “has hit a roadblock” with the announcement of SCL policy, with three Indian companies allegedly short listed as potential buyers. But Bandanna Energy yesterday rejected the idea.
“There is significant interest in the projects from companies in many different countries,” a spokesman said.
Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche said he had no illusions about the passion farmers have for the area but yesterday said they should not rule out a “mutually rewarding” co-existence.