Pratten resident of nearly 20 years Bevan Springate says he wouldn’t like to see the community turned into a mining hub.
Pratten resident of nearly 20 years Bevan Springate says he wouldn’t like to see the community turned into a mining hub. Emma Channon

People power on the rise

A STRONG resistance is expected to rise from Pratten if a mining exploration permit covering the area is given the green light.

The coal mining agenda west of Warwick remains on hold while the state government reaches a decision on permit EPC2784, yet talk is still fierce among local residents.

Pratten Post editor Marianne Irvine told the Daily News she didn't doubt there would be "some sort of protest" in the shire if the permit to explore was approved. "What form it takes obviously depends on people power," she said.

This comes not quite one week after protestors staged a blockade near Beaudesert to prevent mining company Arrow Energy from drilling for coal seam gas.

Mrs Irvine, who once lived near where the protest was held, said she has a great deal of concern about mining in the region.

"The whole of the Southern Downs is too important environmentally, and mining here is too close to civilisation," she said.

"My husband works in the mining industry, though, so I can see both sides. I can see the economic impact definitely, but it's only a short-term gain."

Some of these positives have been voiced by local residents, who argue mining would be a great driver for jobs, which would feed more money into the small township.

A number of mining dongas turned up along the Cunningham Highway late last week, fuelling talk that Ambre Energy's permit to explore had been given the green light.

However Darling Downs Hotel publican Gary Little said from what he'd heard, this wasn't true.

"They're in transit and they're on their way out and up to a mining camp near Gladstone as far as I know," he said.

"I believe the site up there's not ready, but they needed to get them out so they can keep on with production at the factory."

Mr Little said many customers had asked him about what the dongas where there for and whether they meant anything locally.

Meanwhile, Ambre Energy manager Business Development Matthew Adams said he didn't expect to hear a decision from the state government for a while.

"We don't expect a decision to be made before the state election is called," he said.

"At this stage there's been no word from the government and nothing has been approved."


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