DRILLING ON THE WAY: Coal test drilling will be done on three properties in the Goomburra Valley next week.
DRILLING ON THE WAY: Coal test drilling will be done on three properties in the Goomburra Valley next week. Claudia Baxter

Coal drill to start next week near Warwick

A CONTROVERSIAL coal exploration project will begin in the Goomburra Valley next week, more than a month later than scheduled.

APEC Coal announced it would drill for coal on three properties in the Berat-Goomburra Valley area in late April.

However, six weeks later no work has been done.

A spokesman for APEC Coal said drilling for the Maryvale Project would begin in the second week of June.

"The company has produced a landowner information pamphlet which has been posted to all landowners whose land is adjacent to the land on which the drilling is planned," he said.

"The landowner pamphlet was reviewed by the Queensland Department of Natural Resources.

"A meeting has been organised locally for those landowners adjacent to the planned drilling to come along and ask questions."

The project has faced vocal opposition from neighbouring landholders and the Southern Downs Protection Group.

Opponents argue the drilling risks water security in the area and could open the prospect of a coal mine in the area, claims repeatedly refuted by APEC.

One of the properties to be drilled is owned by Scott Christensen, who stood as a council candidate at the election in March.

Mr Christensen said he didn't want to stir the issue up.

"I decided to work with them (APEC) instead of against them," he said.

"Some of my neighbours aren't happy with me but I'm just going to stay quiet at the moment and hopefully it'll blow over."

As part of the contract with APEC, property owners such as Mr Christensen will receive a new water bore.

"The water bore is good for me because water is a big issue around here," he said.

"It (the drilling) is the same as doing a water bore."

Neighbouring landholder Mandy Mutch said she was glad APEC was putting something in writing and speaking with landholders.

"I would have liked it to be more of a notification for the community," she said.

"The outcome of the results and the next step is what is more alarming to the community - are they going to on sell their lease or go for a coal permit?"

Ms Mutch is among the neighbours who will meet with APEC this week.

She has a number of questions she hopes can be answered.

"Immediately I want to know where they will drill and at what depth," she said.

As the company prepares to drill, the Knitting Nannas will again hit the streets of Allora to talk to residents.

APEC Coal's parent company Kaili Resources has mining tenements stretching from the eastern outskirts of Allora through Berat and Forest Springs to Goomburra.



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