The Colton mine lead by company NEC was full steam ahead. After selling out to New Hope, the site has been pulled down and covered up without any trace of any exploration even taking place. Is the mine still going ahead or has it come to an abrupt end?
The Colton mine lead by company NEC was full steam ahead. After selling out to New Hope, the site has been pulled down and covered up without any trace of any exploration even taking place. Is the mine still going ahead or has it come to an abrupt end? Brendan Bufi

OPINION: Is a coal mine how Maryborough really wants to be remembered?

IN a day and age where environmental protection should be one of the first priorities for any kind of infrastructure planning, it's particularly depressing to see the situation with the Colton coalmine unfold as the Land Court approves plans for the new facility.

At the very lest, it's depressing to see the residents of Aldershot, who are all but resigned to their position of having an open-cut mine perched less than 5km outside their doorstep.

You have to feel for them; almost six years of lobbying against a mining giant, hundreds of thousands of dollars lost to lobbying, to lawyers, to environmental analysis, and their efforts are slammed shut in their face.

But it will be an even more embarrassing faux pas for a state government so committed to environmental protection, to approve the mine should negotiations be successful. (Bearing in mind, however, their previous capitulation to Adani for a new mine perched dangerously close to the Great Barrier Reef, earlier this year.)

Green priorities aside, is this really how the Fraser Coast wants to be remembered? With a giant coal mine perched on the banks of our Mary River?

With the detrimental effects of coal mining in Australia already well-documented, and the return of black lung in Queensland, having a mine parked only a few doors down from Aldersot should never have happened.

But the quality of the water suggested to be discharged (called "cleaner” by a lawyer for New Hope) is dubious enough, but only when put to the litmus of scientific enquiry. Even then, because aquatic flora and fauna are susceptible to changes in water quality, any discharge of water into the river could have an adverse effect on the local wildlife.

I am all for local jobs though, and especially if it will help boost the workforce in the area, who have been in dire need for infrastructure and projects for years to come.

But then you have to ask yourself: are these jobs really worth it?

What do you think of the Colton coal mine approval? Let us know in the comments below.