An environmental group is crowd-funding to stop the “shonky” sale of Rio Tinto’s Blair Athol mine.
Earlier this month, TerraCom announced plans to acquire the mine for $1, but the sale does not yet have State Government approval.
The deal includes the mining lease, licences, land, contracts and equipment, as well as $80m from the previous owner to rehabilitate the mine when it closes, which will be held by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
The mine was closed by Rio Tinto in 2012 after three decades of operation due to low coal prices.
The Mackay Conservation Group has asked the public to “chip in $2” to help stop the mine sale.
“Why would Rio Tinto give away a mine and $80 million in cash in exchange for $1? Because Rio Tinto knows that the real cost of cleaning up the mess they have left behind at Blair Athol is more like $200 million to $300 million,” the group said.
“We want to highlight the absurdity of selling a coal mine for $1 by making Rio Tinto a better offer. With your help we can offer Rio Tinto $2,000 or more, to buy the mine and receive the $80 million cash they have offered TerraCom.
“Of course our offer would be on the condition that Rio Tinto agrees to pay the full cost of rehabilitation if it exceeds $80 million.
“And if Rio Tinto fails to accept our cash offer we will use any donations to help fund our ongoing campaign to ensure that they can’t offload their responsibilities to restore the mine to what it was before mining commenced.”
So far, the group has raised $1322.
The mine sale has also come under fire from other environmental groups, with the Lock the Gate Alliance calling on the Queensland Government to block the sale.
If approved, a local workforce of 100 will be hired. The mine is expected to produce two million tonnes per annum of coal with operations recommencing by the end of the year.