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Grazier to continue fight against Colton mine

NOT HAPPENING: Susan River landholder Jan Whitaker is not happy about the proposed Colton mine and plans to fight.
NOT HAPPENING: Susan River landholder Jan Whitaker is not happy about the proposed Colton mine and plans to fight. Alistair Brightman

"WHAT will my grandkids look forward to?"

That's what Susan River Cattle Grazier Jan Whitaker wants to know should the Colton mine go ahead.

The State Government's approval this week of three critical mining leases for the Aldershot site means mining giant the New Hope Group is free to start planning the first stages of the $300 million open cut mine.

Ms Whitaker, whose property spans hundreds of acres alongside the Susan River, has been a long standing opponent of the mine and its potential issues with dust pollution, noise and water discharge into the local river system.

She claims the run-off water from the site could affect her land and business.

"If the cattle drink polluted water, we're in trouble," Ms Whitaker said.

"The government is putting in all this money to fix the Great Barrier Reef, yet they're pumping it out to the river and then the ocean. It will muck up the agricultural surroundings in the area."

At a court hearing in August 2016, New Hope's lawyer Damien O'Brien told the court water discharged from the was of "a cleaner standard" than the river water.

But Ms Whitaker doesn't buy the argument.

"I would like to see and taste it myself. They say all that, and it doesn't eventuate," she said.

"It all sounds good to start with, but it's all money money money...we've just got to lobby hard."

New Hope is currently awaiting a Queensland Land Court decision on the stage 3 expansion of its Darling Downs mine near Toowoomba.

Ms Whitaker said local groups would consider taking similar legal action.

"It could get fairly drastic, if enough people are against it. More lobbying and locking the gate" she said.

"It's very frustrating, to know all the hard work has only come about to this.

Topics:  agriculture colton coal mine fcdevelopment susan river


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