Alpha coal mine determined to go ahead despite court ruling

THE forces behind a proposed coal mine big enough to swallow more than 3000 Suncorp Stadiums are vowing to go ahead, despite a court ruling more work needed to be done to protect underground water supplies.

The fate of the $6.4 billion Alpha coal project from the Gina Rinehart backed GVK Hancock is again in the hands of the Queensland Government which must decide what to do with the Land Court's ruling.

The coal project landed in court as landholders and environmental campaigners fought the mine on a number of fronts including the danger it posed to underground water.

Activist group Coast and Country wanted the company held accountable for emissions created when its coal was burned, even if that was overseas.

On Tuesday, Land Court Member Paul Smith found GVK Hancock's applications for an environmental authority and mining lease be either rejected or made to meet extra conditions.

Those conditions include striking "make-good agreements" with three landholders in the Galilee Basin.

The deals ensure they are protected from any potential damage to their water supplies.

Both GVK Hancock and Coast and Country took the result as a victory.

GVK Hancock "welcomes" the recommendations while Coast and Country's Derec Davies said the miner "was given a blow".

"The court has upheld people's concerns about the impact on farming, the water resources of the region," Mr Davies said.

"This is a landmark win for Queensland.

"If the company wants to progress its proposal it must go away and do more homework."

A GVK Hancock spokesman said it would work with both government and landholders to build the mine that will create more than 11,000 jobs through construction and operation.

He said the decision by the court to give the choice to approve its mining lease and environmental authority with conditions was a sign GVK had done its due diligence.

The GVK Hancock Kevin's Corner project - a sister development to Alpha - is to face a similar challenge launched by Coast and Country.

Mines Minister Andrew Cripps did not comment before deadline on Tuesday.



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