As coal-mining ends, rehabilitation begins at New Oakleigh

HOLE-ISTIC: An aerial view of the New Oakleigh Mine taken from Google Maps.
HOLE-ISTIC: An aerial view of the New Oakleigh Mine taken from Google Maps. Google Maps

 

IT’S GOODBYE FROM HIM: New Hope CEO and managing director Rob Neale (centre) with long-serving New Oakleigh employees Peter Bevan and Murray Freeman.
IT’S GOODBYE FROM HIM: New Hope CEO and managing director Rob Neale (centre) with long-serving New Oakleigh employees Peter Bevan and Murray Freeman. Sarah Harvey

NEW Oakleigh has mined its final tonne of coal.

While owners New Hope will shut the 65-year-old mine down today, the company said it was committed to the area and was already working to rehabilitate the mine.

Speaking to the mine's 30 workers yesterday, CEO and managing director Rob Neale said the Rosewood operations had been one of the most historically important mines in Queensland.

"We will always remember Oakleigh and the overall West Moreton operations," he said.

"It has a special part in the history of Queensland.

We will always remember Oakleigh and the overall West Moreton operations. It has a special part in the history of Qld.

"This mine has been a longstanding feature of this community and the region for many decades," he said.

"But the mine has simply run out of coal reserves on this lease area and as a result this operation has now reached the end of its productive life."

However, Mr Neale emphasised the work remaining to be done to rehabilitate the site.

"New Hope's work here isn't done yet.

"Rehabilitation has been ongoing here for a number of years already and this rehabilitation work will continue for some years to come."

Rehabilitation has been ongoing here for a number of years already and this rehabilitation work will continue for some years to come.

A New Hope spokesman said the remaining, already-mined coal would be shipped out and the mine would be filled in and revegetated.

New Hope has promised to move its workers to other operations.

Longtime New Hope and New Oakleigh employee Murray Freeman said work had already been done to rehabilitate older areas of the mine.

"The rehabilitation has definitely been the most positive change I've seen in my time here," he said.

"There are already areas that have been rehabilitated, which is good news for the area here now."

Mining in the Oakleigh area has a long history according to New Hope, which dates the original mining operations to at least the early 1900s.

New Oakleigh was one of the last open-cut coal mines in the Ipswich region.

The Oakleigh Colliery Company began in 1948 when the Rule family acquired the mine, which was started as a pick and shovel operation. New Hope bought the mine in 1999 from then owners Sumitomo Coal.

Topics:  mine rehabilitation, new hope coal, new oakleigh coal mine, rob neale



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