New Acland Coal has agreed to amend final land use rehabilitation standards over approximately 100 hectares of land from grazing to a vegetated habitat.
The company has entered into an Enforceable Undertaking (EU) with the Department of Environment and Science, and will invest $2 million into the rehabilitation project.
The agreement means the habitat will be suitable for koalas and other fauna at its New Acland Coal Mine, 35 kilometres north-west of Toowoomba.
The EU is a result of ongoing enquiries into alleged unauthorised disturbance in an area at the company’s mine known as West Pit.
Under the Environmental Protection Act 1994, an EU is an agreement that can be considered as an alternative to other forms of enforcement action.
New Acland Coal has applied for an EU and the department has accepted the application.
The agreement includes the establishment of a wildlife corridor connecting existing known koala populations and habitat along the Lagoon Creek conservation zone to its post-mine landform at West Pit.
The pit will be rehabilitated and planted with vegetation suitable to support koala habitat as opposed to grazing.
As part of the agreement, New Acland Coal has also committed to the long-term protection of the area known as Bottle Tree Hill by way of a preservation covenant with the State of Queensland.
The preservation covenant is designed to ensure the security and conservation of this high value ecological area in perpetuity.
The company has also committed to reviewing staff skills, training, and its permit to disturb system.
The EU finalises the department’s extensive enquiries into this matter and is an appropriate enforcement outcome with direct environmental benefits.
In this instance, the EU will result in a net gain of approximately 140ha for conservation and koala habitat post mining at New Acland.
The department will now finalise the matter and monitor New Acland Coal’s compliance with the undertaking.