Hearing dates have been set in November in the ongoing court battle over the New Acland Stage 3 expansion plans.
It came after the High Court last week referred an appeal by the Oakey Coal Action Alliance against the expansion back to Queensland’s Land Court.
The Land Court of Queensland sat today in a preliminary directions hearing over the case against the coal operation.
Mine owner New Hope Group said it appreciated a level of certainty on a potential hearing date.
However, continued ‘delaying tactics’ by the OCAA meant there was still no certainty for the workforce at New Acland.
“As has previously been stated, by October 2021 all available coal at the existing mine will have been exhausted and operations will be forced to scale down to care, maintenance and rehabilitation activities only,” the company said in a written statement released after the court proceedings.
“This is the nightmare scenario not just for our workforce but for the local community and our suppliers.
“The only ones celebrating ongoing uncertainty about the project will be the handful of objectors who have succeeded in hurling obstacles in the path of this project for the past six years.”
The company said Land Court President FY Kingham was due to issue final orders tomorrow (February 12) on preliminary steps.
A further court review is proposed on March 11, when parties will be given further directions, and the president has reserved dates in November for a four-week hearing.
New Hope said objectors were already foreshadowing legal challenges to both the current applications before the court and future judicial reviews.
“It is clear the OCAA is doing all it can to bring ongoing objections and delay the process which, for them, is tantamount to a win,” the company said.
The Queensland Resources Council has urged the State Government to provide certainty around the process required to approve the expansion.