Allan is a coal mining executive with more than 30 years’ experience in open cut and underground coal mining operations. Past experience includes, member of the Macarthur Coal Executive Leadership Group and responsible for Mine operations at Coppabella, Moorvale, CEO of Middlemount Coal Pty Ltd. Technical Services Manager at the Drayton Mine, senior management and technical roles with Thiess Pty Ltd including NSW Project Development Manager, Mining Manager at the Mt Owen Complex and Senior Project Engineer. Other roles included Project Manager/Mine Manager at Liddell and Westside Open Cut Mine sand Senior Mining Engineer at New Hope Corporation
AUTHORISED for PUBLIC NOTIFICATION– Notes on the introduction meeting between CEO OGL, Mr Allan Fidock, State member for Lockyer Mr Ian Rickuss and WAG committee members George Hatchman, John Byrne and Ian Dainer, held at the Ebenezer mine site Coopers Rd, Willowbank at 3.00pm 10 April 2013.
Attendance. The above named were the only attendees. John Byrne asked for and was given permission by Allan to record the meeting.
Ian R introduced all present and started by saying his motivation for getting the parties together was to see the best outcome for residents and asked Allan to make give a few introductory comments.
Allan thanked Ian for getting the parties together and then gave an overview on the legal appeal against the granting of the lease to OGL. He went on to explain that the court action had been finalized, however they were awaiting a final decision. A decision had been expected prior to Christmas 2012, but, they were still waiting.
George outlined the historical background of local mining and the impact on Willowbank residents and detailed the community/corporate neighbor relationship model that WAG had established with Ti Tree Bio Energy. George also expanded on the emotional, financial and amenity impacts mining had had on the area. He specifically made mention of the impact of the former washplant.
Ian D and John then outlined the background and the role of the WAG, its overall aims for the community and the aims of WAG in establishing a relationship with OGL.
Allan then spoke about his extensive background in the mining industry, including earlier projects he had been involved in and advised that he and his company were aware of the need to meet a community standards framework and their commitment to do so. He explained that OGL had an agreement to purchase the lease for Ebenezer. The lease is valid for a period of 15 years commencing in September 2008. He went on to explain the plans for ML 4712 and MDL 172. These plans were entirely dependent on OGL successfully gaining court approval which was still pending.
If the lease is granted, mining at Ebenezer could commence immediately. At the same time OGL would progress the full mining and environmental studies and approvals prior to commencing operations on MDL 172, also known as the Bremer View Coal project. Allan said that this could take 5 to 7 years. He explained the rationale for using road haulage instead of rail to transport coal to the port of Brisbane. Essentially New Hope Coal owns the port coal facilities at the port of Brisbane and there is no capacity available for OGL to use this facility. OGL would clearly prefer to use rail for transport to this port site, but that is not possible at this time.
When questioned on the use of trucks on Coopers Rd, Allan explained that as a condition of their licence, OGL was not permitted to use Coopers road but would be using an internal cross country road to exit their site at Champions way then access the Cunningham Hway from there. In response to questions on Maxams/Chemtrans use of Coopers Rd, Allan pointed out that OGL had no say in those matters but, he couldn’t see any reason why Maxams wouldn’t be able to use OGLs road once it is established..
There was further discussion on possible improvements to surrounding road network under the State Govt’s royalties to regions program, but again, Allan noted that any such expenditure was purely a matter for the State Govt and OGL would have no say in funds being used on major road improvements in the area.
There followed wide general discussion on WAG Rep’s concerns and how OGL might ameliorate the impact of their operations on the immediate Willowbank community with the activation of ML4712 and later, the wider Willowbank Area communities affected by MDL 172. While no specific arrangements were agreed on these matters, there was agreement that there was some common ground in seeking the best outcome for residents regarding mining operations and consultation would continue.
The meeting wound up with the WAG reps advising that they would advise the local community through the WAG community newsletter of the opening of communications with OGL and Allan’s undertaking to engage the community by attendance at a WAG meeting, opening the mine site for residents to see OGL’s operations first hand and consulting with the community when required.
At the conclusion of the meeting, George invited Allan to drive through the residential areas of Willowbank so that he could gain a first hand look at the proximity of the mine’s “neighbours” and the level of investment of residents in their homes, particularly along the recently developed Coopers Ridge part of Willowbank. The WAG will invite Allan to the next available WAG community meeting.
12 April 2013