From the Mining Towns

Adani and GVK Hancock in Land Court - by Sherry Barnes

Two coal mines planned for the Galilee Basin continued to fight separate legal battles against the same conservation group.

Coast and Country Association of Queensland are arguing in the Land court that the economic benefit of Adani’s Carmichael Mine will not outweigh its environment costs.

Coast and Country are also attempting to block GVK Hancock’s Alpha project on environmental grounds.

The conservationists are seeking it recommend refusal of Adani’s applications for an environmental approval and mining lease for Carmichael.

Spokesman for Coast and Country Derec Davies called on Premier Palaszczuk and mining minister Anthony Lynham to reconsider their support of the mine in light of the “first non-company figures” to put the benefits of the mine in context.

The Guardian reported the view of an economic witness, that the project would generate 1,464 jobs and up to $4.8bn in royalties, considerably less than the figures used by Adani in seeking government approval.

Adani stands by commitment

A spokesman for Adani said the company stood by its commitment to deliver $22bn in taxes and royalties for Queensland.

“The land court process relates to the economic benefits of the mine at Carmichael –it does not envisage the combined tax and royalty, direct and indirect, constructional and operational job benefits of Adani’s mine, rail and port projects,” he said.

Anti-mining protestors delay jobs and taxes

“Delaying or seeking to stop the development of the Galilee Basin will not change global demand for thermal coal, it will only push developments and benefits offshore to other countries,” said GVK Hancock’s Manager Corporate Affairs, Josh Euler. “It is delaying thousands of Queensland jobs and billions in taxes for the state and federal governments.”

 

Mr Euler said the company has negotiated make-good agreements with property owners surrounding the mine and is willing to enter into agreements with those outside the compensation zone.

Realising dreams for Sisters In Mining - by Sherry Barnes

Resource sector companies, Thiess and Wesfarmers Curragh, who have helped dreams such as home ownership a reality for indigenous women in Central Queensland were presented the Excellence In Diversity Programs and Performance Award in the QRC and Women in Mining Resources for Women.

Their Oothungs (sisters) in Mining training was developed in 2013 in partnership with the Salvation Army, aiming to empower indigenous women determine their own future.

The traineeship takes up to two years with studies contributing to a Certificate II in Surface Extraction Mine Operations.  Most women then take full-time positions as haul truck operators at the Wesfarmers Curragh Mine or Thiess -operated Curragh North or Lake Vermont.

 

Nearly 30% are over 50 years old

“The Oothungs program has given 15 women the chance to take full advantage of a successful career, including the industry benefits creating a flow on effect for extended families and communities,” said Penny Hamilton from Thiess.

“Nearly 30% of our operators are over 50 and we’ve seen the first of the baby boomers generation retire from our sites, with many more to come over the next few years.”

Rosalyn Mann from Wesfarmers said for some women, completing the program and having a steady income allowed them to buy a home, a dream previously out of reach.  “It’s never too late to try something new and be successful doing it.”

 

 

From left: Rosalyn Mann ( Wesfarmers Curragh) Albert Hegarth ( Salvation Army Employment Plus) Penny Hamilton (Thiess)

MP’s remarks deeply troubling - by Sherry Barnes

The QRC, Queensland’s peak resources sector body says it is deeply troubled by the unjustified attack on the coal mining industry by the Member for Mirani Jim Pearce in parliament yesterday.

QRC Chief Executive Michael Roche says the sector has been working well with the Palaszczuk government and has sought an assurance from the Premier that Mr Pearce’s views are not shared by herself and her ministers.

‘Particularly concerning are claims that the industry does not care about the safety of its employees, when nothing could be further from the truth,’ Mr Roche said.

Mr Roche said one of the most concerning statements from Mr Pearce was this:

‘I am concerned that at this time in the history of coalmining in Queensland I am unable with confidence to point to any mining company that deserves the right to mine. It is a shambles at the moment. They need to be pulled back into line and only the government can do that.’

‘There is simply no justification for this denigration of an entire industry,’ said Mr Roche.

‘Resource companies are particularly troubled because, as chair of the Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee of the Parliament, Mr Pearce will be deliberating on legislation affecting our sector.

‘I have every confidence that the Premier understands the importance of our sector, which contributed $2.5 billion in royalties last year, and is responsible for one in four dollars of the Queensland economy along with one in every five jobs, and supports 17,000 businesses state wide.’

Goondicum Mine re-opens

Canadian company, Melior Resources expects to reopen ilmenite mine, Goondicum in the North Burnett region in June.

Melior bought Goondicum last May after low ilmenite prices had forced it to suspend operations a year earlier.

Managing Director, Mark McCauley told ABC Rural new equipment would sift out larger amounts of worthless material and the throughout capacity would increase from 250 tonnes per hour to 375.  He is confident the still “pretty ordinary” ilmenite price would be offset by the upgrades.

“The changes we’ve made to the project will allow us to lower the cost structure to a sustainable level,” he said.

North Burnett Mayor, Don Waugh said council had supported the mine all along despite its shaky history of changing hands three times since 2007

“The mines who have changed ownership over the years are the ones still going strong and probably growing in stature,” he said.

Work is also continuing on approving and building an access road to shorten the haulage distance from the mine to Gladstone and Bundaberg ports.

 

The Goondicum Mine near Monto sustained no damage due to Cyclone Marcia earlier this year and the re-opening is expected to create 50 jobs.