New Acland Mine
|Closed||2019, the mine is currently mothballed as extension applications have not been approved.|
|Company||New Hope Coal|
The New Acland Mine is located adjacent to Acland township, about 10 km north of Oakey on the Darling Downs in Queensland, Australia. Geologically it is part of the Wallon Coal Measures and contains more than 500 million tonnes of coal that is removed by the open cut method. The mine is owned and operated by New Hope Coal. As of Monday, September 2, 2019, the mine has become mothballed due to extension applications being denied. A stockpile will require trains to run for a little while longer, roughly twelve months.
The mine began operations in 2002. It was officially opened on 13 March 2003 by Premier Peter Beattie. New Acland Mine supplies Tarong Power Station and both domestic and international markets. The mine has previously supplied Swanbank Power Station.
To supply Tarong Power Station beyond 2010 the Queensland Government has indicated its preferred fuel source will be New Acland connected by a conveyor belt. Local reaction to property resumptions, workmen access and building activities was not well received.
To suppress coal dust impacts on communities through which the mine's coal is transported New Hope Coal announced plans to apply a water-based veneer to coal wagons in late 2012.
Stage 2 of the mine was opened on the 21 March 2007 by Anna Bligh. A total of 300 staff were expected to be working at the New Acland Mine in 2009, producing 4.2 million tonnes of coal a year. 60% of the coal was exported.
In 2010, Stage 3 was undergoing an environmental impact assessment. This expansion would have extended the operating life of the mine until about 2042. It was planned that annual production would rise to 7.5 million tonnes.
In March 2012, the incoming State LNP Government announced it did not support the proposed New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 Project in its then current form. New Hope then entered into discussions with the State Government about options to continue the operation at the mine.
In response to concerns raised in March 2012 by the incoming Queensland Government about the project's potential impacts, the proponent modified the project, including reducing its scope, resulting in a modified project proposal that was 63 per cent, or 2,300 hectares, smaller than the original proposal. New Acland Coal also proposes to move the existing Jondaryan rail coal load-out facility onto the mine site. An eight-kilometre rail spur would connect the facility to the existing rail line. Additional changes to the plan include leaving the Acland town area, including the Tom Doherty Park, the War Memorial and the Acland No 2 Colliery, in place.
The revised project has also been changed so that the mining operations will sit 10 km from the township of Oakey; the introduction of profiling and veneering technology at the project's rail loading facility and no longer require that the Lagoon Creek be diverted for mining operations.
On 9 November 2012 the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities confirmed it had accepted the modified project proposal. The controlling provisions for the assessment of the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth) were unchanged.
On 26 March 2013, the Queensland Coordinator-General released the final Terms of Reference (ToR) for the New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 Project.
Major breach of environmental law
New Acland Mine was caught drilling 27 illegal bores in 2018 and fined $3,152 by the Queensland government, a figure an environment group has labelled “paltry”.
Documents obtained under Queensland freedom of information laws show the state Department of Environment and Science believed the Darling Downs miner had committed a “major” breach of environmental laws.
A formal “decision memo” detailed that the mine had conducted exploration drilling activities – including drilling at 27 sites and prepping 41 more – on land not designated for mining activity.
Redundancies offered to all employees as Stage 3 approval not forthcoming
On 22 August 2019, New Acland Thermal coal mine workers have been offered redundancies as stage 3 deadline approaches. Offers for voluntary redundancies are already being weighed up by workers at the New Acland Coal Mine, as the site faces closure. Labour Union representative said the voluntary redundancy offers were being considered by employees.
- Norimitsu Onishi (28 June 2010). "Moving Out One by One as Australia Pursues Coal". New York Times. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- Peter Hackney (24 August 2010). "Fighting for Acland's survival". Daily Mercury. APN News & Media. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- Residents angry at conveyer belt plans. ABC. 23 April 2007. Retrieved on 18 May 2007.[dead link]
- "New Acland to veneer coal train wagons". New Hope Coal. 26 October 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- Madeleine Logan (16 February 2009). "Chance to strike 'gold' at coal mine". The Chronicle. APN News & Media. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- Jamie Freed (24 September 2008). "New Hope will share the loot". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- "New Acland Coal Mine - Stage 3 Expansion". Department of Infrastructure and Planning. Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- Francene Norton (15 February 2006). "Mine expansion sends Qld town packing". The World Today. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
- New Hope Group. "About the New Acland Project". New Hope Group. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- Queensland Coordinator General's Department. "New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 Project". Queensland Coordinator General. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- Toowoomba Chronicle. "New Hope releases new plans in bid for expansion green light". The Toowoomba Chronicle. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- Queensland Coordinator General's Department. "New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 Project". Queensland Coordinator General's Department. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- New Hope Corporation. "New Acland Project". New Hope Corporation. Retrieved 4 July 2013.
- Smee, Ben (29 July 2019). "New Acland coalmine caught drilling illegally at 27 sites – and fined just $3,152". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
- Gillespie, Tom. "Acland workers offered redundancies as deadline approaches". Chronicle. Retrieved 7 November 2019.