(L-R) Mount Morgan Promotion and Development Incorporated's Rhonda Ramm, Audrey Crawford, Heike Steinberger, Graeme Meade with Rockhampton Regional Council acting mayor Cherie Rutherford and Mirani MP Stephen Andrews, and member John Steinberger.
(L-R) Mount Morgan Promotion and Development Incorporated's Rhonda Ramm, Audrey Crawford, Heike Steinberger, Graeme Meade with Rockhampton Regional Council acting mayor Cherie Rutherford and Mirani MP Stephen Andrews, and member John Steinberger.

'I will write daily if needed': MP's vow to save CQ town

ONE Nation MP Stephen Andrew has vowed to write daily, if needed, to pressure the mining minister on two projects vital to Mount Morgan's future.

The Mirani member visited the historic township on Thursday, and came away from his "fact finding” mission with his priorities in check; number one, get the Gold-Copper project operational.

Parallel to Carbine Resources $80 million build, Mr Andrew plans to push for the re-opening of the town's Fireclay Caverns which are home to hundreds of theropod and ornithopod dinosaur footprints which date back 195 million years to the Jurassic period.

Mr Andrew said should the mining project go ahead, it would not only positively impact he local community, tourism industry and economy, but he expects the ground-breaking mining practices could be super-imposed onto existing mines across Queensland and Australia.

A resounding excitement flowed through the phone as Mr Andrew spoke of the projects potential to "change the whole face” of Mount Morgan; a town forging through a 20.9 per cent unemployment rate (September 2017).

"With the feasibility of the amount of richness there and diversity of minerals there that have huge, growing markets, it's got to be the firs thing looked at,” Mr Andrew said, referring to the practice of processing tailings from existing overburden into pyrite, to then be sold and exported to a global market.

One Nation MP Stephen Andrew.
One Nation MP Stephen Andrew. Tony Martin

Most impressive to him was that the fact the project was a "continuation” of an existing mine, which would have a positive environmental impact in processing the toxic tailings, rather than breaking new ground.

"For me as a mining point of view it just takes the whole thing to a whole different playing field,” he said.

"From there, the money will flow, the jobs will flow.

"Carbine are are very closely communicating with the locals and have a vested interest that the town is where they want it to be.

"They have lots of people to choose their workforce from, and have a good relationship with council.”

The reopening of the Mount Morgan Fireclay Caverns is 'vital' to the town, says Rockhampton Regional Council's acting mayor Cherie Rutherford.
The reopening of the Mount Morgan Fireclay Caverns is 'vital' to the town, says Rockhampton Regional Council's acting mayor Cherie Rutherford. Contributed

Carbine Resources director Tony James has previously affirmed the company's commitment to employ an all-local workforce, excepting specialised roles in the initial set-up, to ultimately employ about 180 people, including 70 ongoing roles.

He said while the dinosaur caves were a "traditionally standalone” project, he sees a "symbiotic relationship” between the Mount Morgan Gold-Copper project and the tourist attraction.

He said specialist engineers and geological experts would already be on-hand at the mine, who could assist, oversee and help run the caves as a tourist destination.

The Fireclay Caverns were excavated between 1906 and 1927 at the Mount Morgan Mine site for clay to supply local brick production, but the attractions has remained shut since 2011.

Mr Andrew threw his support behind the project during his election campaign, and again ahead of his visit.

Mr Andrew immediately backed up his Thursday visit to Mount Morgan with a cane growers meeting in Mackay.

The Fireclay Caverns at Mount Morgan date back to the Jurassic period.
The Fireclay Caverns at Mount Morgan date back to the Jurassic period. Contributed

He admitted this had given him little time to fully "get clued in” on the intricacies of the next step for Mount Morgan.

Though he swore his executive officer had got the ball rolling on Friday, and today he would dedicate his time and resources to clearly understand where the mining approvals were at, and the best course of action.

"We need some action there... this is a time now for moving forward... I will do whatever it takes,” he said.

"If we have to write a letter weekly,we will write weekly. If we have to write daily we will write daily.”

Rockhampton Regional Council acting mayor Cherie Rutherford welcomed the opportunity to share the RRC's "top priorities” for the town during last week's visit.

"The importance of these projects cannot be overstated - they are critical to driving economic growth, increasing tourism numbers and creating local jobs in Mount Morgan as well as the broader region,” Cr Rutherford said.

"We welcomed Stephen's support to reopen the Fireclay Caverns during last year's election campaign and I was really pleased to hear he was eager to push for the release of the latest feasibility report into the reopening of the caverns.

"Council is very keen to work with Stephen and the Queensland Government to have this vital report released at the earliest opportunity.

"This long awaited report will, we hope, be the catalyst to reopen this extremely significant attraction and help Mount Morgan to realise its incredible tourism potential.”

Mr Andrew said once he gets all the information required, including the State Government's feasibility study, he wants it publicly understood and reinforced.

For him, now is a time to become intimate with the people of his electorate, and understand the "procedures and what's happening in the community”.



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