Aerial of Alpha Coal Project Test (12073).
Aerial of Alpha Coal Project Test (12073). Patrick Hamilton

Landholders’ last stand over Alpha mine

THE Lock the Gate Alliance is fast approaching its last line of defence against the controversial Alpha Coal Project, and has renewed its call for landholders to lodge written objections with the Land Court.

Group spokeswoman Ellie Smith yesterday said affected farmers had until 5pm today to register their concerns, which will be heard by the court next month.

Although not optimistic of a swift outcome, Ms Smith said the battleground was set and the time was now for landholders to register their objections to the Galilee Basin mine, which she believed would put future water supplies in jeopardy.

"It is a long process in the Land Court - the landholders in Wandoan have been in the Land Court for the last year around issues of groundwater and the impact of mines," Ms Smith said.

"We're only registering our objections to the Alpha mine because the court only takes it one at a time."

At least four families have lodged written objections to the mine based on the impact of groundwater supplies in the region.

Ms Smith said the Environmental Impact Statement had initially suggested the area 10km around the mine would be affected, but the group was concerned that would spread, depending on weather conditions and patterns.

"In the initial EIS GVK Hancock put together, it had terrible information on the impact on water, and they were asked to put more information into the supplementary EIS," Ms Smith said.

"They did that, but we are not confident that information is accurate.

"GVK haven't done enough baseline water testing."

Ms Smith said the number of potentially impacted landholders was unknown but the group feared contaminated water in the event of floods could spread to the Burdekin Dam, west of Townsville.

"There is also the concern that if the mine can't get enough groundwater, they will look to buy water allocations from the Fairbairn Dam, which will impact irrigators as well," she said.

Submissions close today at 5pm. To register an objection, go to ehp.qld.gov.au or phone Ellie Smith on 0448 335 452.


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