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Foreign owned mine offers water to drought affected towns

Lake Leslie in Warwick
Lake Leslie in Warwick (courtesy of Southern Downs and Granite Belt).

Southern Queensland communities still suffering from prolonged dry weather could receive much needed relief after an Asia-headquartered mine operator promised to share water with locals.

Royal Duke Holdings will offer local businesses some of the groundwater it mines at its Commercial Water Extraction Facility near Cherrabah Resort in Warwick, 111km south of Toowoomba.

No production until drought ends

The Chinese company, which is owned by brothers Wenxing and ­Wenwei Ma, has also promised not to bottle water while the Sunshine State is still in the midst of a severe drought. The approved development application reportedly involves installing an aquifer to drain as much as 96 million litres a year from natural springs. It also includes mining about 8000 tonnes of granite each year.

“The government understands that the resort operator has committed to not start taking water for bottling during drought,” Acting Natural Resources Minister Mark Ryan said in a statement obtained by News Limited. “They have also offered their allocation to local charities and local irrigators. The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy has contacted the resort operator to support them in putting this ­commitment into action.”

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The State Government previously granted the proponent a licence to increase water mining from 25 million litres to 96 million litres a year back in the year 2011. This angered Stanthorpe farmers who have paid to order 1.3 million litres of water from about 75km away each day.

Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie predicts it will take years before the facility will begin production.

“This is a very generous offer by Cherrabah Resort to donate that water to our rural residents for agricultural purposes,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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