Councillor steps up to Anglo and fights for her community
MOURA woman Brooke Leo is more than passionate about her hometown of Moura.
It's part of the reason she ran for as the Division five Councillor in 2016 on Banana Shire Council and was successful.
In her Councillor role, Mrs Leo stood up in front of a large crowd of disgruntled landholders and residents at Anglo American's Community Meeting to defend her town and fight for what she believes in.
Mrs Leo released the following statement about the meeting which was to address the Dawson Mine road access issues of Gibihi Rd following a mine blast in the area last year.
"Gibihi Road reserve and stock route is 200m wide. I am aware of no approval that exists that has given you permission to access that road reserve for your mining activities,” she said.
"You have been encroaching on that 200m wide reserve for years. Sheer arrogance & lack of respect for this community has seen you using it for your infrastructure. Haul roads, pipes, lay-down areas, cables, dewatering ponds & mining pits. All on our public infrastructure.
"The logical train of thought then would be, that you had you observed the 200m wide reserve, arguably we would not be in this situation.
"Your blasting exclusion zone should have been way out of that reserve, & your blasting technique should have been good enough to not damage our critical public infrastructure.
"Because when it all comes down, that's what you've done. You've blown up critical community infrastructure. And there is no talk tonight of you compensating this community for destroying our infrastructure.
"Our ratepayers have forked out dollars for years, to provide us all with a network of roads that service our community”
"And not only is there no talk of compensation, but you are also telling us that you won't reinstate it.
"I do not believe for one second that you cannot safely reinstate that road.
"All the excuses, all the technical data & all the pretty pictures just scream one thing. You want the shiny black stuff underneath.
"We know our area - sometimes better than you. We know there is coal not yet mined there. We know you already have plans to redivert Kianga creek & push west to get at the coal in that area.
"And while I respect that you are now a ratepayer in this Shire - And while I respect that some of the people you employ still live locally - I would also expect that you cannot operate at the expense of our livelihoods - our businesses - our safety - or by destroying the road networks that keep our community together.
"You have done the wrong thing.
"And as long as I am on this Council, and as long as I represent my community that voted for me to represent them, I will never vote to allow you to close that road reserve.”
Anglo holds public meeting
ANGLO American held a community meeting on Wednesday night in Moura to update the community on Gibihi Rd.
The Morning Bulletin understands the meeting was well-attended and a number of landholders voiced their frustrations and concerns.
CEO of Anglo American's Metallurgical Coal, David Diamond, provided an update on Dawson mine road access issues.
Since the blast in November 2017 at Dawson mine, Gibihi Road has been closed and Anglo American has undertaken a series of in-depth geotechnical reviews.
"We realise the closure of Gibihi Road has caused significant frustration to the community; restoring safe public access is an absolute priority for us,” Mr Diamond said.
"The community meeting was important for us to provide an update to the community on our progress and also to listen to feedback.
"We've launched a number of avenues for members of the community to share suggestions and stay updated with the restoration process.”
Anglo American also provided the following statement.
"Results indicate underlying rock has been progressively weakened by legacy mining operations. Additional cracks exist in the rock underneath Gibihi Road making the area extremely unstable. Vibration from the routine blast at Dawson mine on November 9 triggered rapid rock movement and subsequent cracking.
"Given the area's current instability, safety for all road users cannot be guaranteed, therefore re-opening Gibihi Road is not a viable option.
"Anglo American has engaged a design engineer, Hatch, to complete a traffic study and undertake further work on detailed design options. Further details and information will be shared in the coming weeks.
"To understand the full range of impacts of the road closure, Anglo American has appointed Ernst & Young, to conduct a social impact study. Ernst & Young will consult and seek feedback from the community on behalf of Anglo American. Final details for community consultation are being confirmed and will be communicated soon. Interested parties may pre-register for consultation sessions by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.”