Stalled coalmine: 2500 applicants for 187 jobs
A COALMINE left in limbo by the State Government has had over 10 times as many people seek employment as it will initially have jobs if approved.
The Courier-Mail can reveal more than 2500 workers have lodged paperwork with New Hope after the coal company launched an expressions of interest campaign for its New Acland Stage 3 mine last Thursday.
The company has promised the mine project will create 187 full-time jobs in its first six months, rising to 487 positions in 18 months while delivering a $7 billion dividend to the Queensland economy over the life of the project.
However the Government has taken the extraordinary step of awaiting the outcome of High Court action planned by activists and landholders before making a final decision on the much-maligned Darling Down mine project.
Expressions of interest applications have inundated the miner from across Queensland with more than 550 of the workers eager to land a job from Brisbane, a further 350 who are Ipswich-based and another 300 who live in Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville and Cairns.
Representatives of New Hope met with Mines Minister Anthony Lynham last week, however he rebuffed their appeal to approve the mine.
The company first lodged an application to expand its footprint into adjacent land it owns 13 years ago.
"It's obvious that Queenslanders want to get back to work," New Hope chief development officer Ben Armitage said.
"In less than a week more than 2500 men and women across the state have registered their interest in working at New Acland.
"We have the jobs ready to go, Queenslanders want jobs and the State Government is on record saying regional jobs are vitally important.
"There is no valid reason not to approve New Acland Stage 3 and get Queenslanders working."
However, the Oakey Coal Action Alliance has accused the miner of trying to circumvent proper process by seeking to have the mine approved before all legal avenues are exhausted.
"We have taken this matter to the High Court in part because this coal mine expansion will kill farming jobs and threaten food production, including 10 million litres of milk, at a time when it is needed more than ever," OCAA secretary Paul King said recently.
"If the High Court finds in OCAA's favour, the Stage 3 application may be referred back for a rehearing. By law the minister cannot approve a mining lease without a recommendation from the Land Court."
Originally published as Stalled coalmine: 2500 applicants for 187 jobs