Jericho beef producers, Bruce and Annette Currie have vowed to continue the fight to save their groundwater despite a decision by the Queensland Land Court backing GVK Hancock’s Kevin’s Corner coal mine on Tuesday.
The Queensland Land Court recommended state approvals for the mine in the Galilee Basin proceed.
Speaking to Queensland Country Life after the decision was handed down, Mr Currie said he was “disappointed” and “surprised” but would continue the fight against the mine.
“The Minister can still ignore the recommendation as they did with the Alpha case. We won that case and the Minister ignored the ruling,” he said.
The Curries’ 25,110ha beef property is situated 60km north of Jericho and neighbours the Kevin’s Corner mine.
In 2013, the Currie family objected to GVK Hancock’s application for Queensland Government approvals - a Mining Lease and Environmental Authority - on the basis that the mine threatened their groundwater.
“My wife Annette and I took GVK Hancock to court to protect our groundwater which is essential to our grazing business,” he said.
“We’ve been waiting for over a year-and-a-half for a decision on this mine. In the meantime, farming families in Central Queensland like ours are now facing new threats to their groundwater from the Adani mega-coal mine.”
“Our grazing enterprise is totally reliant on access to groundwater. We are a direct neighbour to this proposed mine, so when GVK Hancock modelled groundwater drawdown that extends roughly 4km into our property, but stopped short of showing us anything less than a 1 metre water drop, we were very concerned.
“The fact they did not include our property or bores in their bore survey shows disregard for the impacts on local farmers and neighbours.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive, Ian Macfarlane released a statement after Tuesday’s decision saying he was very disappointed “to see green activists, yet again, attempting to derail a job creating mine”.
“In its decision, the Land Court had demonstrated the court system is starting to identify where activists’ claims have little or no basis other than to delay or attempt to jeopardise the project.
“Once operational the mine would produce up to 30 million tonnes of coal which provides the government with an extra $168 million of royalties to the Budget annually or 2,600 extra nurses or 3,000 police officers or 3,100 teachers.
“The Queensland coal industry delivered $32.7 billion dollars to the state’s economy last financial year while employing directly and indirectly 183,000 people.”
Earlier this year, Mr Currie toured India to learn more about mining giant, Adani. Read his reflections here.
“I’ve seen first hand in India how Adani has ridden roughshod over farmers,” he said.
“Farmers in Queensland are facing multiple threats to their water security from multiple mines. We are in this fight against Adani and GVK for the long haul. We have no other choice.”