Reaction mixed over Callide mine extension
SIX HUNDRED workers at a Central Queensland mine can now breathe a sigh of relief with the announcement Batchfire Callide Pty Ltd has been granted an extension to its Boundary Hill mine lease until 2043.
The lease will allow the Callide mine to continue to supply 6.5 million tonnes of thermal coal each year for baseload power generation and alumina manufacturing.
Batchfirechief executive officer Peter Westerhuis welcomed the news, saying it had been a long process and was never certain.
Batchfire Resources bought the mine from Anglo American in October 2016, then applied for the lease.
"Anglo had done some work and we finished it off, it probably took about five years," Mr Westerhuis said.
"These things are now determined by very strict environmental conditions and you need to make sure everything is done correctly and sustainably."
Queensland Greens Senator and spokesperson for Mining and Resources, Andrew Bartlett, released a statement on Wednesday night, only hours after the mining lease extension was announced.
Mr Bartlett's statement said the decision to issue a lease to extend the life of the Boundary Hill coal mine betrayed Queenslanders while serving the interests of the Labor Party's paymasters in the fossil fuel industry.
"Coal kills. If we don't invest in renewable, clean energy, parts of Queensland will become unliveable, natural disasters will be far worse and farming will be devastated," he said.
"What's stopping the investment we urgently need is political and corporate greed.
"Fossil fuel companies donate millions to both Labor and the Liberals and in return, they're allowed to poison our climate and make an obscene profit.
"We must fix the rigged system that allows fossil fuel companies to have a stranglehold on our politics.
"We must demand our elected representatives work for a future for all of us."
Mr Westerhuis said he had no interest in engaging with the Greens and that Callide mine was a major employer in Central Queensland.
"We support many jobs and many programs that support the Callide mine," he said.
"Batchfire itself employs about 600 people through the mine; all were glad to hear the lease extension news.
"People were anxious, it removes a lot of uncertainty, everyone was happy to hear it."
Callide mine has operated since 1944 producing low- sulphur, sub-bituminous thermal coal primarily for domestic power generation and alumina refining.
"Callide mine supports Callide power station,
which provides 15 per cent
of the baseload of all the state's power," Mr Westerhuis said.
"We're happy it is finally approved and we will get on supplying coal to the power station and continuing to support it.
"The coal price has stabilised...the Callide mine has a long, long life yet."