New Acland mine. Image: New Hope Group
By Elizabeth Fabri
NEW Hope Group’s long-awaited New Acland expansion is one step closer to development after receiving Federal Government approval in January.
The New Acland Stage 3 Continuation Project gained Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC) approval but still required State Government Mining Lease, Environment Authority, and Associated Water License approvals before a final investment decision could be made.
New Hope Group managing director Shane Stephen said the approvals proved the environmental credentials of the project “stacked up”.
“It’s positive news for the local community as it provides optimism for the continuity of operations at New Acland and the increased economic activity associated with the construction of the project,” Mr Stephen said.
“Our 300 direct local employees and 500 contractors have been anxiously awaiting Federal and State approval of this project for many years.
“Whilst we welcome the Federal EPBC Act approval, timing of State approvals is absolutely critical as the current mining lease is running out of resource and a considerable amount of construction activity is required to enable access to Stage 3 coal.”
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the news was a welcome relief for the State after years of delays.
“The Federal Government has stepped up to help create up to 260 construction jobs and ongoing direct employment of up to 435 jobs and indirectly 2300, worth about $12 billion in economic benefits over the life of the project,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“This project has been scrutinised by both State and Federal governments, and has held up under the scrutiny of experts to meet some of the highest environmental standards in the world.
“We now call on the State government to do its part to help New Hope gain the remaining critical approvals before the current resource runs out.”