CFO Shane Stephan says Colton coal mine is a goer.
CFO Shane Stephan says Colton coal mine is a goer. Nat Bromhead

New Hope upbeat on mine prospects

NEW Hope Coal ramped up its public relations offensive on the Fraser Coast yesterday with a series of meetings and a consultation with Wide Bay MP Warren Truss to discuss issues surrounding the development of Colton coal mine.

New Hope Coal chief financial officer Shane Stephan remained upbeat about the prospect of getting the State Government to give the mine the go-ahead.

The Department of Resource and Environment is examining New Hope's environmental management plan.

If satisfied with this report, DERM could be expected to usher the proposal through to the next phase of the approval process, as early as February next year.

Even with the prospect of a federal mineral resource rent tax in the offing, Mr Stephan said the Colton mine, 8km from Maryborough, would still go ahead.

"We will be subject to the (tax) but it will not materially change our view of the Colton mine," Mr Stephan said.

"It has coloured our overall view, but of this project - no."

Mining giant New Hope remains confident that the first hard coking coal from the mine will be loaded onto railway wagons before the end of 2013.

Local environmentalists said that the mine would have a major impact on the health of local waterways.

It was revealed yesterday that the Colton mine operation will generate about 985M/l of annual discharge into the Mary River.

The quality of this discharge and the mine's plans to control it, form a key part of the environmental management plan.

" . . . modelling showed discharge contains elements of concern before mixing with the Mary (River)," the environmental report states, in part.

New Hope paid $200 million to buy out owners of the Colton mine lease, Northern Energy.

Mr Stephan said that while DERM continued its deliberations, New Hope urged anybody who wished to know more about the project to phone 1800 266 296 for further details.



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