Photo courtesy of HSE Mining

IPSWICH City Council has voiced its disapproval over the State Government considering the renewal of a mining development licence (MDL) in the region.

Council planned to lodge a formal objection to the issuing of a licence to New Hope Colleries Pty Ltd by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation. New Hope currently owns a number of properties west of Rosewood. Council believes a community consultation process should be in place prior to the granting of all mineral development licences, mining leases and extensions and exploratory permits.

We have not been given any information to demonstrate that the proposed renewal is in the public interest. It is considered that any potential mining activity in this location would have significant detrimental social impacts on the surrounding community and have vast impacts upon the landscape and environment that forms part of the current scenic amenity of the area. The issuing of an MDL did not authorise mining to occur but allows the licence holder to undertake activities to the evaluate the site’s potential mineral reserves.

A mineral development licence allows the holder to undertake more rigorous exploratory investigations on the subject site to determine whether the minerals are of sufficient quality to warrant extraction. A MDL allows the holder to undertake seismic surveys, mining feasibility studies, metallurgical testing and marketing, environmental, and engineering and design studies to evaluate the development potential of the site. The original MDL can be granted for a period of up to five years and may be renewed by Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation upon request from the permit holder.

Council was seeking further clarity on the issuing of the MDL from the State Government. From August 16 last year the Queensland Government introduced a declared exploration restriction area over land bound by the South East Queensland Regional Plan prohibiting mining exploration in and around urban areas including Ipswich. The restriction only covers existing and future exploration permits (the step before being issued a MDL).

The New Hope lease renewal is for an existing MDL and it is not clear at this time if the exploration restriction extends to the renewals of MDLs. No information had been provided in support of this request other than the provision of a very broad plan of the area of the lease. Further information is required by council to undertake a thorough assessment of the proposed renewal.

Division 10 Councillor David Pahlke said the proposed area was in close proximity to the Rosewood township and had significant potential to negatively impact residential amenity. “Also the haul routes associated with the proposal have not been defined but it is likely that these would also have an impact on the amenity of nearby residential areas and on the overall transport network in the area,” Cr Pahlke said. “We are also concerned about several protected pockets of endangered vegetation.

These issues may necessitate the severe limitation or prevention of mining in particular circumstances and need to be properly assessed prior to the renewal of the MDL.”

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