While local farmers opposed to the Ackland Mine extension celebrate, about 300 workers and an estimated 400 more in supporting industries are now looking down the barrel of job losses after the Environment and Science Department knocked back the approval of the environmental authority for the Stage 3 New Acland Coal mine expansion.
In an historic 99-day hearing, the Land Court last year recommended against the coal mine expansion into agricultural land, including because of its possible impacts on groundwater supplies.
Post the land court hearing, the Environment and Science Department invited New Acland Coal to submit new water modelling which has now been rejected.
Mine operators New Hope can still appeal against the ruling and it also has another appeal against the Land Court ruling, which is expected to be heard next month.
Industry insiders say the decision is another example of a government rolling over under pressure from the Greens.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane says that the degree of frustration within the industry for the Government was palpable.
“It just adds to the feeling that no one is supporting our industry.”
The Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Anthony Lynham will make the ultimate decision whether or not to grant the mining licence.