New Acland mine won't impact health, lawyers tell court

EXPANDING the New Acland coal mine would have no adverse health impacts, lawyers for the mine's operators have told a court.

A group of farmers and activists have challenged New Hope Group's proposed third stage in the Queensland Land Court. The hearing is expected to last about 10 weeks.

Speaking outside court before the hearing began on Monday; Oakey Coal Action Alliance president Frank Ashman said the potential impact on groundwater levels as well as potential health impacts from the coal mine were key concerns to be examined in court.

But in his opening statement New Hope lawyer Peter Ambrose said the company had a "good record of compliance" in environmental areas and there was no evidence the mine could lead to adverse health effects.

Mr Ashman said the mine's expansion put some of Australia's best agricultural land at risk.

"You could sprinkle it on your cornflakes," he said of the dirt.

The OCAA is legally represented by the Environmental Defenders Office, whose CEO Jo-Anne Bragg said the case is being funded through donations.

New Hope Group managing director Shane Stephan said in a statement the court process was a "usual part of the approval process".

"New Hope will assist the court wherever possible so that it can undertake its process as efficiently as possible," the statement said.

The court is set to undertake a site inspection today before resuming on Wednesday, March 16. - ARM NEWSDESK



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