Varied response to mining block
REACTION has been varied as the dust settles on major mining announcements affecting the Ipswich area this week.
On Monday Premier Anna Bligh announced the government would force mining companies to keep away from people's homes by banning all exploratory digging near urban areas.
Ms Bligh said the ban would apply to centres such as Ipswich, surrounding rural areas and Toowoomba.
At the same time, mining company OGL Resources said open cut coal mining on an existing mine site at Ebenezer would resume, possibly as soon as next year.
While the resumption of mining at Ebenezer was hailed a boon for jobs and the economy, mining opponents in the area were horrified.
Ebenezer resident Terri Wright, who is part of a group opposed to mining, said she was “absolutely disgusted with what's happened”.
“I think it's a disgrace,” she said. “We've got a meeting where this will be discussed.”
She said the meeting would be tomorrow night in St Brigid's Hall in Rosewood from 7pm.
Another Ebenezer resident, Steve Upton said before Monday's announcement that he supported mining being confined to the existing site.
“Mining-wise, I haven't got a gripe,” Mr Upton said.
“I'm happy for the mining to be confined here; as long as they don't start up the other side of Rosewood.”
The Premier made her annnouncement on Monday together with Mining Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and Member for Ipswich West Wayne Wendt.
“I commend local MP Wayne Wendt from Ipswich for bringing community concerns to State Cabinet's attention,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
Cassie McMahon of anti-mining lobby group Ipswich Lock the Gate gave the government's announcement qualified support.
“However, we don't feel it has gone far enough,” she said.
“The two kilometre buffer zone falls short of the recommendation of five kilometres from most scientists to prevent health risks from coal dust.
“Also, the population restriction of 1000 or more means rural and regional areas will still be affected by coal mining.”
- The Premier said the restriction would apply to existing and future exploration permits.
- She said towns of 1000 people or more could nnot have an exploration permit within a two-kilometre buffer zone.
- The change will affect 285 existing exploration permits, she said.