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Regulator accused of cowardice for failing to protect jobs at $896M mine expansion

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan
Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan (L)

An industry advocate has slammed Queensland regulators for taking too long to approve an $896 million coal expansion and causing many job losses.

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan accused the Queensland Government of stalling on whether to approve New Hope Group’s New Acland Coal Expansion, 35km northwest of Toowoomba.

150 jobs gone

It comes after New Acland coal general manager Dave O’Dwyer revealed the proponent would retrench 150 workers because it has been waiting for approval since the year 2007, suggesting the State Government has taken up to 12 years to approve the expansion.

Canavan believes there is no reason why regulators should waste any further time in the approval process.

“There’s nothing stopping the Queensland government from approving this mine, there’s no legal injunction,” Canavan told the Australian Associated Press ahead of an inaugural Resources Media Club event in Brisbane.

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‘Petulant’ protestors criticised

The minister described anti-mining activists who have glued themselves to pedestrian crossings, locked themselves to drilling rigs and brought busy city streets to a standstill as “pampered, privileged and and petulant”.

He warned stopping or delaying projects will only hinder development in countries like India.

“Those on the streets want to stop Indians enjoying what we take for granted, without themselves making any sacrifices,” Canavan said.

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