Terracom have applied for a permit to truck coal from Blair Athol to Isaac Plains.
Terracom have applied for a permit to truck coal from Blair Athol to Isaac Plains. Stuart Cumming

Mine operator wants to cart coal on Peak Downs

THE Peak Downs Hwy could become a whole lot busier as TerraCom plans to carry its coal in trucks 100km to Isaac Plains.

Terracom re-started production at Blair Athol just last month and has since thrown away its plans to use Glencore's rail infrastructure near the mine just outside of Clermont.

To move the coal it is currently stockpiling, TerraCom chair Jim Soorley said the company had applied for a permit to transport it by road to Isaac Plains.

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According to Mr Soorley that would mean four or five trucks an hour would leave the mine to make the 110km journey.

"Glencore, who is next door, at this stage they don't want to take the coal," Mr Soorley said.

In the Australia Securities Exchange announcement about the change of plans, TerraCom announced it would take six to nine months to design its own rail line.

But Mr Soorley said that plan had been fast-tracked to reduce the time the trucks would be on the road.

"We have sold the coal now and now it is about just getting it to market," he said.

Mr Soorley said the mine was a success story. The oldest open cut mine in Queensland was mothballed in 2012 but had been revived after TerraCom bought it from Rio Tinto for $1.

Now the mine had about 60 staff of which 75% were local Mr Soorley said.

But Mackay Conservation Group co-ordinator Peter McCallum did not believe it was all a positive story.

He said the plan was a breach of the conditions for granting TerraCom's mining licence and the Queensland Government should reject any movement of coal by road.

"The Peak Downs Hwy near Clermont is narrow and dangerous. Putting an additional 180 road trains on the road every day will endanger everyone who uses it," Mr McCallum said.

"At present 140 trucks use the road each day. This plan will more than double the number of heavy vehicles and more than double the risk of a fatality. The company is just trying to save a few dollars. They should be using the rail system as they promised."

But Mr Soorley said the environmentalists just didn't want the mine to be successful.

Glencore declined to comment on transporting Blair Athol coal.

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