Get ready to lock the gate: Guardians of Goomburra

Lock the gate: The New Acland coal mine near Oakey. Chinese-owned Kaili Resources retains a currnet permit for open-cut coal exploration and gas extraction in the Goomburra Valley and surrounding farming districts. (File image)

By Jeremy Sollars

Goomburra Valley and surrounding landowners are being urged to “lock the gate” to mining interests with a Chinese conglomerate still looking at options for open-cut coal mining and gas extraction in the prime farming district.

Chinese-owned Kaili Resources has a current coal exploration permit granted by the Queensland Government which covers a huge swathe of the Valley and surrounding areas including Allora, Berat, Forest Springs, Clintonvale and Mount Marshall.

While the company is yet to commence significant exploration activities it appears to be keeping its options open, with the current exploration permit, EPC 1506, due for renewal in May 2020 – and locals are being warned to stay vigilant.

A report from Kaili Resources to the Australian Stock Exchange (APX) from March this year – for the first quarter of 2019 – states EPC 1506 is “held 100% by (Kaili’s) wholly-owned subsidiary APEC Coal Pty Ltd” and is “strategically located in the Clarence Moreton Basin, 222km from the Port of Brisbane”.

“The Project is adjacent to the New England Highway which connects the project area with Toowoomba for a distance of 77km and from there the heavy haulage rail system can transport coal for export through the Port of Brisbane for 145km,” the ASX report states.

“During the quarter Kaili reviewed exploration to date with a view to expanding the current resource base into the exploration target areas.”

Other ASX documents state the EPC 1506 permit area potentially has a “compliant resource of 97 million tonnes” of coal.

The Free Times has sought comment numerous times in recent weeks from Kaili Resources – including from their consulting geologist Mark Berriman – and none has been received.

Mr Berriman last spoke to the Free Times in November 2017 following preliminary drilling in the permit area and said the drilling had shown coal deposits in the Goomburra Valley were suitable for “power station use”.

But he said it could be “years” before it was found to be “commercially viable”, and that landowners whose properties had been explored at that time had been “happy” with the process.

“What Kaili has is a permit to conduct exploratory drilling, it’s not a licence to start mining coal,” Mr Berriman said in 2017.

“(The) test holes were converted into water bores, which is a win-win for everyone,” he said.

“Landholders will be kept firmly in the loop about any future exploration, and well and truly informed.”

“Be vigilant”

A spokeswoman for the community group ‘Guardians of Goomburra’ provided the following statement to the Free Times this week –

“It is widely recognised that the Goomburra Valley contributes to Queensland’s economic prosperity,” the spokeswoman said.

“We are currently in severe drought but in a usual season the soil, climate and landscape features in the Valley are very productive with a diverse range of cropping and livestock industries.

“There is also a large tourism industry which attracts hordes of visitors to the region for scenic drives, walks in the national park and camping.

“These compatible industries could provide food, clean water and recreation for generations to come.

“A coal mine will destroy local enterprises, take away local jobs and cause unwanted social and environmental damage.

“The community is not against the mining industry but rather against mining prime agricultural land close to a national park.

“Kaili Resources are currently exploring for coal under the licence EPC1506.

“APEC Coal are a 100% owned subsidiary of Kaili Resources.

“The most recent March Quarterly report uploaded to the ASX by Kaili resources documents their intentions to mine ISG (In Situ Gas) and open cut coal.

“This would have devastating consequences to the valley.

“Previously residents were told by APEC coal that they intended to mine for coal using underground methods.

“Once again, APEC coal and Kaili Resources have been dishonest with the local residents and failed to be forthcoming with information relating to their changed intentions.

“There has been no known exploration for the duration of this current lease.

“With 10 months remaining local residents are being vigilant and are standing together to turn away APEC Coal so that no further exploration can occur.

“In 2017 local residents put forward a petition with 697 signatures to request that the state government end the exploration lease.

“Despite this petition the government decided to renew the lease.

“In May 2020 this lease will be up for renewal again. Local residents would again like to send a clear message that the Goomburra Valley needs to be protected from mining and the leases need to end to give certainty back to the local community.”

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