NEC managing director Keith Barker says suggestions the Colton mine at Aldershot is in jeopardy are wrong.
NEC managing director Keith Barker says suggestions the Colton mine at Aldershot is in jeopardy are wrong.

Coal mine negotiations continue

NORTHERN Energy Corporation officials are set to meet with officers from the Department of Environment and Resource Management to iron out any problems raised over the proposed Colton Mine outside Maryborough.

NEC managing director Keith Barker said yesterday that the process to secure a mining lease was “involved and ongoing”.

He dismissed any suggestions that the plan to mine 500,000 tonnes of quality coking coal a year from an open-cut mine at Aldershot was in jeopardy.

“That's the reality of the situation,” he said.

“I understand some people are trying to say it's over but the mine has not been rejected.

“That's just mischievous and misleading.”

DERM revealed last week that a number of issues had not been adequately addressed in NEC's environmental management plan, including questions about soil and groundwater.

“The issues raised were very wide ranging from vegetation to people,” Mr Barker said.

“Almost always the case regulator seeks additional information.

“We felt our EMP was comprehensive but we had expected some additional information would be required.

“We have put in a fairly comprehensive plan so we're hopeful we're closer to the end of this part of the process.

“The overall process is very involved.

“There are many steps along the way. But we are fairly well down the track with DERM.

“We have arranged to meet DERM to understand what the issues are and where we have been deficient.

“It may just be an interpretation.

“It's quite a complicated exercise.”

Earlier this year a Chinese steel company agreed a multi-million deal with NEC to buy 65 per cent of any coal mined from the Aldershot side.

About 100 jobs was expected to be created if the mining project got the green light.



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