Kingaroy residents most likely to be impacted by the proposed Kingaroy coal mine were not surprised when the proponent company, Moreton Resources, again refused to meet with them as a group last week.
It is the second time that landholders in and near the proposed mine site have been declined the opportunity to speak to the company.
“This is likely to be an excuse by a company that knows the credibility of its proposal could be exposed by simple questions from a group of landholders.” group spokesperson John Dalton said.
“At a community forum in February, the company couldn’t answer simple questions about the economic benefits of the mine or the expected dust effects on nearby Taabinga Village. We think the company may have decided that receiving negative press for refusing to meet with us is better than trying to find answers to those questions.” Mr Dalton said.
In response to the company’s allegation that the local group is spreading mis-information about the proposal, Mr Dalton said that such differences of opinion were to be the topic of the meetings that the company refuses to attend.
“We believe that if this proposal had credibility, the company would welcome the opportunity to speak to landholders.” he said.
Pam Marquardt lives in Taabinga Village, a residential area of 35 homes just 1500 metres from the proposed mine and she attended one of the small forums of 10-12 invited people held by Moreton Resources two months ago. She said that when she and other directly affected landholders began to ask simple questions that the company had difficulty answering, they were told that they would have to leave if they persisted.
“I felt discouraged by their approach to my questions, and I certainly won’t be having any one-on-one meetings with the company. They can’t even admit the obvious risk which is that we will have dust, lights and noise problems if we are living 1500m from an open cut coal mine.” Mrs Marquardt said.
Mr Dalton said that the company appears to be unable and unwilling to confront the full impact of this proposal on the wellbeing of people who would be separated from their farms, their homes, and their way of life.
“The company claims that it is open and transparent, but only on its own terms apparently. It is a most unusual way to build trust and social capital in a community.” Mr Dalton added.