Site for the work by Moreton Resources
Site for the work by Moreton Resources Contributed

South Burnett Mine: What you need to know

MORETON Resources has big plans for Kingaroy.

Its plans for a coal mine within 12km of the South Burnett town is one of the company's top priorities but the region is unconvinced.

Earlier this month hundreds of people packed into the Kingaroy Town Hall to raise their concerns about the project and hear from local MPs, the South Burnett Mayor.

Moreton Resources was not at the meeting, but less than a week later, it published its annual report which suggested only 24% of residents in the South Burnett opposed its mining project.

Here's what you need to know about the plan:



Moreton wants to develop a mine south of Kingaroy Airport, that would extract "thermal coal" -- used for electricity -- for about 30 years.

The company believes the project will bring "substantial infrastructure and development" to the region.

Any mine development is a long way off, but of the two exploration areas Moreton has near Kingaroy, it considers one a "genuine medium-term asset".

It hopes the project will allow it to produce coal cheaply, meaning it would be able to undercut other coal sellers in the market.

If it can do that, it could pull 10-15 million tonnes of coal from the region each year.

In January, the company said it expected 12-18 months for approvals. 

Moreton Resources' mine would be developed, if approved, in the MDL385 area of this map.
Moreton Resources' mine would be developed, if approved, in the MDL385 area of this map.



So early on in the project, all the potential upsides and downsides are not yet clear.

For one thing, such a project would deliver jobs and money for the South Burnett region.

During construction and mining, there would be paid workers who would (ideally) be spending their money in the local community.

Moreton estimates its work would create 80 jobs between now and 2017.

By 2020 it would be employing 400 workers.

If the company's forecasts are accurate, each mining job would potentially create another 1.5 jobs in the region. That adds up to a total of 600 jobs for people not directly employed by the mine.




A mine on the doorstep of any town cannot be taken lightly but as above, the full impact of the mine may be unclear.

Mines are hugely industrial projects that create dust, noise and traffic -- both during construction and once mining begins.

The LNP is traditionally supportive of mine development, yet Nanango MP Deb Frecklington -- who is also Opposition spokeswoman for develoment and trade -- is opposed to the project.

Maranoa MP David Littleproud has also raised his concerns.

South Burnett Regional Council mayor Keith Campbell has said there are positives to the project but fears the impact it would have on water supplies, a lack of rail connection in Kingaroy and "public health" issues.

Ms Frecklington said on August 12 the company has yet to submit a mining lease application to the Queensland Government.

While many in the South Burnett are not necessarily opposed to mining, the concerns focussed on how close this project was to the population.

Ms Frecklington said a survey of the region's residents found just 20% supported the plan, while 59% were against.

The company has repeatedly said it intended to work with the community on the project.



Moreton Resources is a junior mining firm, despite its 20-year history.

It is targeting four areas for mining -- it has coal mining ambitions in the Surat and Tarong basins in south-west Queensland and in the Bowen Basin further north.

It is also aiming to develop metal mining projects.

Moreton Resources' CEO Jason Elks.
Moreton Resources' CEO Jason Elks. JULIEN>STAR

Moreton was previously known as Cougar Energy, a firm involved with underground coal gasification trials outside Kingaroy.

Its $550 million project was fined $55,000 for releasing a "cancer-causing chemical" into groundwater in 2011.

The company's lawyer argued the release of benzene was minimal, and had not posed a real risk.

It pleaded guilty to breaking environmental conditions of its resources licence.

It changed its name and company structure in 2013 but continues to rehabilitate the site.

Earlier this year, the Queensland Government banned all UCG projects in Queensland.

South Burnett

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