Wandoan Coal Mine Case
This case study involved an objection and subsequent appeal against the Wandoan Coal Mine, an open-cut coal mine proposed to operate for 35 years west of the township of Wandoan, approximately 350 km northwest of Brisbane and 60 km south of Taroom in the Surat Basin, Queensland.
The mine is part of the Wandoan Coal Project proposed by Xstrata Coal Queensland Pty Ltd and its joint venturers.
The thermal coal deposits for the mine are estimated to be in excess of 1.2 billion tonnes and are located within three mining lease applications covering approximately 32,000 hectares.
Consultants for the applicants prepared an environmental impact statement that calculated that the mining and use of the coal would produce 1.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases.
Neighbouring landholders also objected to the mine due to noise, dust, groundwater and other issues; however, these objections are not the focus here.
The objection by FOE and other objections by neighbouring farmers was heard by the Land Court of Queensland in Brisbane, from 22 August - 31 August 2011.
The Court dismissed FOE's objection and recommended that the mining lease and environmental authority be granted. Some changes were recommended to address concerns raised by the landholders.
FOE appealed the decision to the Land Appeal Court but discontinued the appeal before a decision was reached.
Key documents for this case are:
Mining application & EIS documents
Objection by FOE
Xstrata climate change expert reports
FOE climate change expert reports
Xstrata supplementary climate change reports
Submissions & trial decision
Appeal to Land Appeal Court
Approvals issued for mine
Postscript on mine
In November 2012 the future of the mine was in doubt due to market conditions.
In March 2013 the mine was reported to be even less likely to proceed due to the risk of the project and market conditions.
In September 2013 the mine was reported to have been placed on indefinite hold due to market conditions and the business risks involved in proceeding.
A large open-cut coal mine in Queensland
(not the Wandoan Coal Mine).
Source: Business News (28 May 2010)
A photograph of the proposed mine site.
Source: Xstrata IAS
Sample pit near Wandoan showing one of the coal seams proposed to be mined.
Source: Xstrata media image library