The Kingaroy Observatory is under threat from a proposed mine, its owner says.
The Kingaroy Observatory is under threat from a proposed mine, its owner says.

Tourist attraction imperiled by planned coal mine

DUST from a proposed mine could force an observatory to close down, its director has warned.

James Barclay is the director at the Kingaroy Observatory, formerly known as Maidenwell.

He's concerned dust raised from operations at the planned coal mine near Kingaroy could cloud telescopes at his facility.

MRV Tarong Basin Coal Pty Ltd is planning to extract five million tonnes of coal a year and was given the green light to advance through the legislative approvals process on Tuesday.

The company, owned by Moreton Resources, has formally been notified of its "terms of reference for an environmental impact statement".

The observatory is located about 3km from the mine site at Kingaroy Airport.

Visitors to the Kingaroy Observatory look at the night sky.
Visitors to the Kingaroy Observatory look at the night sky.

Mr Barclay said he was worried the mine's light and dust would close down the major astro-tourist attraction and also traffic at the airport.

Twelve years ago Mr Barclay and his wife spent $600,000 to set up the observatory in Maidenwell.

He said he was offered a new site at Kingaroy Airport two years ago from the South Burnett Regional Council and Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington.

He said lights from the Meandu Mine had made it impossible to observe the stars.

 

"Believing we had a good thing going, my wife and I took a chance.

"Rather than close down, we moved the buildings at a cost of $100,000 to be closer to the town's accommodation and eateries."

He said the observatory had attracted more than 27,000 visitors and with the darker skies at the airport, had the potential to attract even more visitors.

"If this mine goes ahead, we're done for.

"Not only will we lose the best part of $750,000, out of pocket, the South Burnett and Queensland tourism will lose a unique attraction."



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