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Court clears way for mine

COAL mining could restart in a mine near Ipswich this year after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal against it.

The Supreme Court dismissed an application for judicial review of the renewal by previous Mining Minister Stirling Hinchliffe.

The main basis for the applicants' application was the lease expired three years before it was renewed and the mine was bad for the area. The court heard Mr Hinchliffe recommended renewing mining lease ML4712 last September and it was granted for 15 years from November 2008.

Covering 675ha at Ebenezer just west of Ipswich, ML4712 was granted for 21 years from 1987 and an open cut coal mine was conducted there until 2003.

The mining lease was assigned to Zedemar Holdings in 2005 and in 2008, it applied to renew it.

Opponents say when the mine operated, there was blasting, dust and fumes, noise from trucks and strong lights at night.

But the Court said the Minister acted properly in recommending the mining lease be renewed and the application was dismissed.

The applicants have 28 days to appeal against the decision.

OGL Resources managing director and chief executive Allan Fidock said yesterday the company was "obviously pleased with the outcome".

OGL entered into an agreement with Zedemar last May to acquire ML 4712 and the Bremer View project under Mineral Development Licence 172.

"For us, now it's all about marketing the property to raise capital to purchase the tenement and then get the process moving along," Mr Fidock said.

He said about $100 million was needed, including $40 million for the mine, $10 million in shares for the vendor and $50 million for infrastructure and working capital for the first two to three years.

"There is a chance we could start mining the coal this year but not exporting the coal. The court case delayed the process so we won't be able to export product until probably this time next year.

"On the basis of a million tonnes per annum, would expect the mine to operate for 13 or 14 years.

"It's a positive story in terms of the mine and the positive effects it will have on the community. From our current plans we'd have 40 or 50 employees on site with a multiplier effect on the rest of the community. We'll always look to engage local services."

The court heard Mr Hinchliffe claimed Ipswich City Council supported Ebenezer mine reopening but councillor David Pahlke said that wasn't the case.

"If I'd known the lease had expired by three years I would have had a different approach," Cr Pahlke said.

"I'm offside with them already; not a good starting point."

Topics:  coal mine, supreme court


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