$7b Surat Basin mine approval a 'dark day' for farmers

9th August 2017 8:00 AM

ANTI-coal activists have slammed the State Government's approval of a $7 billion thermal coal project in the Surat Basin, arguing it would force farmers out of the region.

Lock the Gate Alliance spokeswoman Carmel Flint called the decision to approve Glencore's Wandoan Coal project north of Roma a "dark day" for agriculture and land management.

"The approval of this mine by Minister Anthony Lynham marks a very dark day for farming in Queensland," she said.

"The mine will extract 22 million tonnes of coal each year for 35 years and destroy up to 32,000 hectares of farmland on the Western Downs.

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"A large number of farmers have already been displaced by Glencore over this vast area, and now we fear that remaining farmers on and near the lease will be forced out."

The thermal coal produced by the Wandoan project will be used to produce electricity, as opposed to coking coal dug up by other mines.

Questions remain about whether the mine will be able to get off the ground, since it still needs a rail link to connect the project to the Port of Gladstone.