New Acland mine

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{{#badges: CoalSwarm|Navbar-Australiacoal}}New Acland mine is an operational coal mine owned by New Hope Coal. The company states that coal from the mine is "supplied to overseas markets and power stations in South East Queensland"[1]

Since early 2012 New Hope Corporation has been pushing for the Stage 3 expansion of the New Acland mine in Queensland, Australia.


The project is located 16km north west of Oakey in the Darling Downs region of Queensland.

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In 2017 New Hope Group said that the current mining lease will be exhausted in mid 2020. Consequently the future for the mine relies on approval of the New Acland Stage 3 Project.[2] If approved the expansion would allow the surface mine to operate until 2031.[3]

The expansion of the mine has been mired in controversy. A detailed description of the legal process is found on the Environmental Law Australia website.[4] After several court cases, in September 2019 the Queensland Court of Appeal ruled the Land Court did not have the power to consider groundwater impacts from mining. This was the grounds that Oakley Coal Action Alliance had been able to stop the mine from expanding prior to this date. As of September 2019 the Queensland government is still to rule on its pending water licence for the project.[5]

The application was refused in 2017 because of the operation's potential impact on groundwater.[3] "The decision means that the case is now expected to be re-heard in its entirety, although today’s [10 September 2019] decision means the Land Court will not be able to consider the mine’s impact on the precious groundwater that supplies the prime agricultural land of the region as part of evaluating the positive and negative impacts of the proposal."[6]

Oakey Coal Action Alliance secretary Paul King said the project should never have been allowed to proceed due to the harm it would inflict on local farmers, the environment, and the Oakey economy.[5]

"This is a very difficult outcome for local farmers who have lived with this threat for ten long years and now face more uncertainty due to this technicality, while they struggle with a worsening drought and reduced groundwater supply," he said.[5]

"The farming land around Oakey is classed in the top 1.5% in Queensland. It is madness that it should be destroyed for the sake of a temporary coal mine.[5]

The uncertainty surrounding the mine expansions threatens the existing workers on the site. Redundancy procedures were triggered on 2 September 2019, as the expansion had not been approved.[5]

Following his election to parliament and appointment as Premier in early 2012 Campbell Newman announced that the government would not allow the New Hope Corporation to expand the New Acland mine, from 5 million tonnes a year to 10 million tonnes a year of thermal coal.[7] The expansion of the mine, Newman stated, was "inappropriate". A spokeswoman for the Liberal National Party (LNP) told The Australian that "the LNP don't support open-cut coalmining on strategic cropping land anywhere in the state ... The LNP will not support the proposal for Acland stage three (because) it covers some areas of strategic cropping land, and would come too close to local communities."[8]

Despite the rebuff, a spokesman for New Hope said that "we will continue to work with the new LNP government" but would not say whether they aimed to gain approval for an amended proposal.[8] In its April 2012 quarterly activities report for the quarter, New Hope stated only that "submission of the supplementary EIS has been delayed from the planned submission date of mid April 2012 due to ongoing discussions being held with the new Co-ordinator General."[9]

In its 2009 Annual Report, New Hope Corporation states that it produced 4.263 million tonnes of coal from the mine during the year. "New Acland has completed the initial development of a second open cut pit south of the current operations to maximise coal qualities and operating flexibility. First coal from this southern pit was processed in mid September 2008," the report states.[10]

"Planning is well advanced on the next incremental expansion at New Acland (New Acland Stage 3 expansion) to 4.8 million tonnes per year. The expansion is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2009/10, subject to construction contractor performance. The scale of this incremental expansion will maximise production within existing mining approvals and fully utilise available rail capacity," the report stated.[10]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: New Hope Coal
  • Parent Company: New Hope Group
  • Location: 14km north west of Oakey in the Darling Downs region of Queensland[11]
  • GPS Coordinates: -27.278281, 151.710176 google maps (accurate for the mining complex)
  • Status: Operating/ proposed extension[11]
  • Production Capacity: 4.8 Mtpa at present intended to increase to 7.5Mtpa[11]
  • Total Resource:
  • Mineable Reserves: 80.4 million tonnes[11]
  • Coal type: Thermal
  • Mine Size:
  • Mine Type: Surface mine
  • Start Year: 2002
  • Source of Financing:

Expansion plans

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics reports that New Hope Coal is considering an expansion project which it refers to as 'stage 4'. An Environmental Impact Statement on the project has been completed. The project will produce 5.2 million tonnes of thermal coal.[12]

"Additionally, significant progress has been made on a potential New Acland Expansion Stage 4 which would optimise staged future production pathways up to 10 million tonnes per year. The State Government of Queensland has designated the expansion to be a project of State Significance. The supporting mining lease application is on track with a decision by the Queensland Government expected during 2010 or early 2011, subject to the normal regulatory approval process and response to any objections to the lease grant. The final terms of reference for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) were issued in 2008 and the Draft EIS has been completed. Submission of the Draft EIS is scheduled to occur during September 2009," the company's 2009 annual report states.[10]

Articles and resources


  1. "Acland", New Hope Corporation website, accessed August 2010.
  2. New Hope Corporation, "EY New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 Project: Financial Impact Study", 27 September 2017, page 1.
  3. 3.0 3.1 WA Today, "Approve Darling Downs mine to save jobs: Canavan", 11 September 2019.
  4. Environmental Law Australia, "New Acland Coal Mine Case", accessed 13 September 2019.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Mining Monthly, "New Acland expansion gets boost from appeal decision", 12 September 2019.
  6. Environmental Defenders Office, "AMedia Release: Acland decision shows need for legislative change to protect groundwater", 10 September 2019.
  7. New Hope Corporation, "Acland", New Hope Corporation website, accessed June 2012.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Natasha Bita, "Campbell Newman slams farm gate shut on miners", The Australian, March 29, 2012.
  9. New Hope Corporation, "Quarterly Activities Report: 30 April 2012", May 2012, page 4.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 New Hope Corporation, 2009 Annual Report, New Hope Corporation, page 6.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 "New Acland Coal Mine Expansion, Australia", Mining Frontier website, accessed 12 September 2019.
  12. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, "Minerals and energy: Major development projects", April 2010. (Pdf). The list is also available in Excel format here.)

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