Product: Coking coal
Mining method: Open cut
Location: Near Maryborough, Queensland (EPC923 and EPC1082)
Reserves and Resources: See the latest JORC ASX Announcement
Development status: Mining Lease applications lodged 2010
The Colton Project area lies in the Burrum Coal Fields where small-scale underground mining had been carried out from 1865 until the late 1990s. An Exploration Permit over part of the coal field area was granted to the Company in 2005 and after first phase exploration and a review of historical data , an initial 5Mt inferred resource was announced in 2009. Following further exploration success mining lease and associated applications for a small scale project over part of the exploration area were made in 2010.
Today, the marketable coal reserve, supported by a substantial inferred resource, supports a project that is expected to produce 0.5 Mtpa of coking coal from the proposed open cut Colton Mine for around 10 years. There is an expansion opportunity in and around the current project to extend the project duration to more than 25 years. Any expansion opportunity would be subjected to a separate application and approvals process to that applying to the current project.
Queensland Legislation, refined by successive Governments over decades of experience, provides for a robust and thorough review and assessment by the Government and the Bureaucracy of applications for resource development projects. These processes include substantial opportunity for public input and include provision for independent assessment of projects through the auspices of the Qld Land Court.
Mining Application and Environment Management Plan
- Applications were made by Colton Coal Pty Ltd, the project proponent, for the mining leases and environmental authority in 2010
- The Amended Initial Development Plan 2012, part of the application process documentation, provides an overview of the activities proposed to be carried out under the proposed mining lease during all of its proposed term
- In May 2014 the Environmental Management Plan for the project was accepted by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection as meeting the legislative reporting requirements. The department thus issued the draft version of the Environmental Authority for the Project – the set of environmental management rules and conditions that the Government deemed necessary to ensure proper management of the environmental impacts due to the project.
- This was followed immediately by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, the Department charged with overall responsible for management of the application process issuing the Certificate of Public Notice – the CPN.
- Issuing the CPN started the formal process enshrined in the legislation for objectors to any or all aspects of the project to make their case or cases for objecting, to have those objections assessed independently by subject experts (acting for each of the proponent and the objectors) and for all of this evidence be subjected to the examination in the Qld Land Court. Part of the process to assess the evidence can include Court sanctioned mediation.
Objections to the Project
Objection to the project applications and the proposed conditions in the draft Environmental Authority were made by a number of the residents from the local township of Aldershot together with a substantial Objection from the Aldershot And District Against Mining (AADAM) group. The objections were assessed by independent experts representing Colton Coal and AADAM and their Joint Expert Reports (JER’s) were submitted as evidence for the Courts consideration.
· JER for Estuarine Water Quality
· JER for Water mixing processes
· JER for Noise
· JER for Air Quality
· JER for Mine water management system
Hearings on the Objections were held in the Qld Land Court in August and September 2016.
The Land Court Determination issued in November 2016 made the recommendation for grant of the mining leases and for the draft Environmental Authority with an amendment to the Environmental Authority for noise conditions to be issued.
Approvals Issued for Mine
The final Environmental Authority EPML00367613 was issued on 15 December 2016. All requirements have been met for granting of the Mining Leases.
Objections Lodged by MRCCC to Review EPBC Referall Decision
On 22 December 2016 the Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee (MRCC) made a request to the Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy to reconsider the referral EPBC 2010/5625 of Colton Coal and determination as a non-controlled action made on 6 October 2010.
Colton Coal responded to the request by the Department of the Environment and Energy for submissions.
Concerns Raised by Community Group
Concerns were raised by a community group during March 2017. Colton Coal's response to these claims are detailed in this fact sheet.
The Project’s updated Environmental Management Plan (EMP) was submitted in May 2014 and was assessed by the relevant government authorities as meeting the relevant reporting requirements. The EMP, equivalent to a larger project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), was prepared as part of the process of obtaining Mining Leases for the project. The EMP reports on the standard range of environmental factors including surface water, groundwater, noise, air quality, flora, fauna and community impacts. The project is situated on undeveloped State land north of Maryborough and west of Hervey Bay. The project area lies within the Susan River catchment – a tributary of the Mary River.
New Hope is committed to working with the local community stakeholders. The company has consulted with a range of stakeholders, including local council, State Government representatives, business and industry groups and neighbours. The Company will continue to meet with interested stakeholders throughout the duration of the project.
The current Colton Project Mining Lease applications and Environmental Management Plan and the associated appendices are available for download below.