No way out for farmers in mine push
CANE growers have no way of stopping mining companies moving on to their land to explore for minerals.
In a legal opinion distributed by Canegrowers Bundaberg, farmers have been told the state government owns all the natural resources on land, even private freehold land.
Canegrowers Bundaberg chairman Allan Dingle conceded there was not much farmers could do if they did not want the minerals under their land exploited.
"We can't really stop them," he said.
Mr Dingle said what Canegrowers was most concerned about was whether there would be any side-effects from drilling in farmland.
"We have different levels of aquifers," he said.
"Some are salty, some are not."
He said Canegrowers was trying to ensure that if drilling was done through aquifers there would not be any contamination.
Mr Dingle said the organisation was in the process of negotiating with companies that wanted to explore in the region.
Canegrowers was particularly concerned about what might happen in the area between the Kolan River in the north and the Gregory River in the south.
"We're looking at the options of what we can do," he said.
Mr Dingle said the mining companies were prepared to pay compensation, and that was what they were negotiating.
In the legal opinion distributed to cane growers, lawyer Chris Cooper said there was no recourse for farmers who did not want any mining or exploration on their land.
"As all minerals belong to the state; the state has power to regulate and authorise the exploration and mining activities on your land," he said.
Mr Cooper also said the mining companies did not have to pay the landholder any royalties for minerals and resources found on their land.
However, they did have to enter into a Conduct and Compensation Agreement with the landholder before it could carry out any mining activities.
Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott also weighed into the fight recently, saying miners should not be allowed to enter land without the permission of landholders.