Coal mine fight becomes 'battle of the placards' at court
A BATTLE of the placards is underway outside the Land Court of Queensland where miners and environmentalists are clashing over the future of New Acland's Darling Downs coal mine.
It comes on day one of a hearing in Brisbane which will determine whether the Stage 3 expansion of the project will go ahead.
Members of the Oakey Coal Alliance - the 60-strong lobby group of environmentalists and land owners standing in the way of the mining giant, have been on the courthouse green since early Monday morning, with the signature yellow Lock the Gate signs in hand.
They are holding a picnic in an effort to bring home their message "you can't eat coal".
More than a dozen miners and their families and Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union officials, waving banners which read "unlock the gate, approve" have also turned out for the hearing.
Several outspoken members from both sides have been calling out to each other and trading accusations outside court.
Closing submissions in the case were made last October but the case took a controversial turn earlier this year when Land Court Member Paul Smith granted an eleventh-hour plea by Acland to admit into evidence a favourable report about the predicted impacts on groundwater.
The hearing is expected to run for at least three days.