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New Hope's campaign fails but will still push for mine approval

Business

Despite a damaging campaign in the State election, coal miner New Hope Group wants to get in front of the new Resources Minister Scott Stewart to ask for approval of its $900 million Acland mine expansion project.

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At its annual general meeting yesterday, New Hope chairman Peter Miller said the campaign received a “massive amount” of positive earned-media and Acland had become a major issue.

But he said “Labor was re-elected and the company will now re-enter negotiations with the State Government”  under the new Minister Scott Stewart.

A bid by climate activists Market Forces to have the AGM back a resolution to force the company to factor in the Paris Climate Agreement targets and end coal production failed to get approval.

The board recommended remaining shareholders vote against the resolution and the chairman of the meeting voted undirected proxies against the resolution.

The approval process for the mine expansion has now been through seven parliaments and without remaining approvals 150 jobs at the project will go. About 190 jobs were lost in the past 12 months and a further 90 will go from its head office later this month.

The State Government has refused to grant approvals to the project while court issues remain and there is still one matter yet to be decided on by the High Court and a decision on that may not happen until March.

In March 2019, the Department of Environment and Science granted the environmental approval for Stage 3, but New Hope still needs an associated water licence and a development approval before the expansion could proceed.

“Stage three is a shovel-ready project able to provide good, long-term jobs for Queensland which currently boasts the highest unemployment rate in Australia at 7.7 per cent,” Miller said.

He said while there had been major advances in renewables it still only supplied 5 per cent of the global electricity production while gas produced 36 per cent.

He said there would be a significant increase in thermal coal use up to 2040.

As part of the job losses from head office, New Hope said it would be losing its chief operating officer Andrew Boyd, chief development officer Ben Armitage and executive general managers Kim Franks, Sam Fisher and Janelle Moody.

Labor’s new Resources Minister Scott Stewart was approached for comment.

 

 

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