A UNION is calling on a major mining giant to forfeit its lease to dig coal if it doesn't intend to mine coal at Norwich Park mine.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union made the call yesterday for BHP to forfeit its lease.
The mining giant announced last week the Dysart mine would close on May 11.
CFMEU Mining and Energy General Secretary Andrew Vickers said BHP leased the right to mine the site from the Queensland people and once operations ceased, the company should forfeit that right.
"If BHP doesn't think Norwich Park is worth the effort, it should do the decent thing and hand back its lease to the State Government and allow an operator with less focus on super profits to have a go," said Mr Vickers.
"This is export-quality coking coal that belongs to all Queenslanders; it's time for BHP to use it or lose it."
The Miners' Union yesterday sent a letter to the Queensland's Premier calling on the State Government to send that message to coalmine operators.
Mr Vickers said the company's decision to close Norwich Park was evidence the company could not afford to consider mining communities in its operations.
"It's ludicrious to think that BHP's decision to close Norwich Park is somehow proof that the company's Bowen Basin operations are on the breadline," Mr Vickers said.
"The closure merely underlines BHP's ruthlessness when it comes to only pursuing operations turning over super profits.
"Granted, that business model has made it very, very rich but at what cost to Central Queensland's mining communities?"
Mr Vickers said BHP has form for abandoning mines other companies have since returned to operation, including the Cook and Moura collieries in Queensland and operations near Newcastle.
"The union fears the closure of Norwich Park will devastate the township of Dysart.
"But BHP 'banking' Norwich Park - and stopping another operator offering a lifeline to the residents of Dysart - shows that the company is in the Bowen Basin for a good time, not a long time."
A BHP spokeswoman said the company was currently focused on the review of operations at Norwich Park.