Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Wandoan - whats happening there

A few people have asked me for any news on Wandoan - so below are some articles on recent and older developments to consider.

This is 2010

November 12, 2010
Xstrata Coal says the Queensland government has given it environmental approval for its Wandoan coal project in the state's Surat Basin.
The project is a proposed 30 million tonne per annum open-cut thermal coal mine and is a joint venture with ICRA (Itochu) Pty Ltd and Sumisho Coal Australia, which each hold 12.5 per cent stakes.
Xstrata Coal holds the remaining 75 per cent interest.

Wandoan coal project executive general manager Stephen Bridger said many of the conditions for the approval were measures proposed by Xstrata Coal to mitigate the potential impacts of the project.

This is 2011 dec

CONFUSION about the new Cockatoo Coal Collingwood mine proposal is starting to dither as community engagement forums explain the ins and outs.
Last week the coal company held three days worth of information sessions for communities on their North Surat Coal Projects which incorporate Taroom, Woori and Collingwood.
Located approximately 12km northeast of Wandoan, the Collingwood project is anticipated to begin construction works in 2013.
It is hoped the mine will provide 1000 jobs, majority to local workers, during that phase and maintain 400 staff throughout its 25 year production expectancy.
Earlier this year feasibility, environmental and social impact studies commenced and will continue until 2013, in the meantime Cockatoo Coal are seeking a Mining Lease and Environmental Authority to be approve by the Queensland Government, which will be lodged in 2012.
If approved, it will be an open cut, truck and shovel operation.

 Cockatoo Coal North Surat Basin project manager James Geer said the development of mine infrastructure and association services facilities will occur between 2013 and 2015 if approvals are granted.

This is 2012

                     Merged miner may look here

A COMBINED Glencore International-Xstrata could make a substantial acquisition in Australia, potentially including a merged Whitehaven Coal and Aston Resources.
One analyst said on Friday Whitehaven-Aston, should their proposed $5.1 billion merger go ahead, would be a ''good fit'' with Xstrata's Australian operations as the combined vehicle would have a dominant market position in semi-soft coking coal.
Growth through acquisition could be more attractive than pursuing Xstrata's major greenfields development in Australia, at Wandoan in Queensland.
''Xstrata has been dragging the chain on Wandoan a bit,'' the analyst said. ''It talks a big story about this great list of projects but the reality is it's been talking about them for four or five years.''
The analyst said a probable endgame for the merger of Whitehaven-Aston was for the combined entity to be taken out by one of the big miners.
In London Norton Rose lawyer Marc Waha said Glencore could take six months to a year securing antitrust approvals around the world if it made a bid to merge with Xstrata. The deal may need approvals from countries where it has assets or customers, including Japan, South Korea, Canada, Australia and Brazil, as well as the US, the European Union and China, Mr Waha said.
Competition issues around the deal were likely to be limited. The combined entity would be the market leader in thermal coal, zinc and lead, and have a top five position in copper and nickel. But even in commodities in which they would be global market leader, their markets shares would still be below 15 per cent.
''My hunch is that it will go through as long as the parties are ready to pay the commercial price,'' Mr Waha said.
In the process of trying to win approval, Glencore and Xstrata may weaken their bargaining position with Asian buyers of commodities, Mr Waha said. ''You are saying I will keep Asia's share in the total supply or maintain the same conditions, you are opening up yourself to a lot of reviews and perhaps lawsuits,'' he said. ''You are putting yourself in a weaker position when you negotiate with your customers.''
Mr Waha said it was unlikely there would be an interloper on the deal, given Glencore's current stake, Glencore/Xstrata's average asset quality and the organic growth focus of majors.
UBS analyst Myles Allsop said the price Glencore was prepared to pay for control of Xstrata would determine whether the approach was successful. ''We expect Glencore to target a nil-premium merger (especially with the majority of shares still held by employees) and Xstrata management/shareholders to look for some control premium or a valuation closer to net present value.
''We do not expect material competition issues and we do not expect this approach to trigger a bidding war for Xstrata,'' he said.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/business/merged-miner-may-look-here-20120205-1qzq3.html#ixzz1ldzayiVX

Dalby's home affordability crisis

3rd February 2012
More than 50% of Dalby households are facing housing affordability stress, according to a strategy released by council.
The Western Downs Regional Council Affordable Housing Strategy, funded by mining company QGC, painted a concerning picture of the current and future state of both buying and renting in the region.
The report, written by consultants KPMG, said land supply in Dalby was "likely to be tight in the near future" unless council intervened in lot sizing.
However, it said there was a reasonable supply of rural-residential land which could be "called upon" to relieve future supply pressures.
The same could not be said of Wandoan, as the report said there appeared to be insufficient land within the town to accommodate expected increased housing demand "even if the WDRC intervenes".

where is WANDOAN

Around 70% of Tara residents were susceptible to housing affordability pressures whether renting or buying.

click map Tara to Wandoan

The report recommended "immediate" actions to be taken in the next three months.
They included removing planning impediments and minor scheme amendments.
It also recommended that surplus or underutilised state or local government land be released for housing developments, and ensuring council departments were appropriately resourced to support accelerated approvals.
Another recommendation was that council work with the state government to "ensure appropriate transitional assistance" - likely to involve short term financial help - for those experiencing rental stress.
WDRC planning spokesperson and councillor Ray Jamieson said council had "committed to considering (the actions)".
"Council has adopted the strategy, but the implementation is yet to be determined," Cr Jamieson said. "The implementation will take place hopefully in this council's term, but if not, early in the next term.
"Given that this council has been committed to having the housing strategy completed, it would be fitting that this council decide on the implementation of the strategy."

2010 article

Tara residents blockade Queensland Gas Company to stop seismic testing

Tara blockade
Tara landowners and supporters at their blockade outside the town. They have stopped all QGC vehicles entering or exiting a site where they plan seismic testing . QGC have started to build a road around them on private land. Picture: Jeff Camden Source: The Courier-Mail
A SHOWDOWN is under way between one of the world's biggest energy companies and Tara's "blockies" on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.
About 20 residents, led by environmental activist Drew Hutton, have forced Queensland Gas Company to stop seismic testing by blocking access to an expensive fleet of trucks.
The company, owned by British multinational BG Group, has started developing coal seam gas wells in the area to feed a proposed multibillion-dollar liquefied natural gas export plant in Gladstone.
But the blockies, who live on acreage without town services, yesterday said they were drawing a line in the sand and were prepared to get arrested to prevent QGC from progressing. Police kept a watchful eye on the blockade.
QGC then appeared to try to circumvent the blockade by pushing a bulldozer through ironbark scrub, which protesters saw as an attempt to intimidate.
But the company later said it was a communication breakdown over the timing of a firebreak.
The protesters set up camp at the blockade, saying they were prepared to stay as long as it took to get some meaningful answers from the company. They met QGC representatives yesterday morning and told them the protest would continue until "they right old wrongs".
"We told them there was a moratorium until there was good faith. We are not prepared to listen to spin and platitudes," Mr Hutton said.
The campaign is primarily aimed at stopping the gas wells on the land owned by the blockies because of fears of water contamination and pollution, although QGC continues to say there is very little risk.
They have also demanded QGC stop using its coal seam water on dirt roads in the area, saying the State Government's own assessment said such action could have major consequences for the environment.
Local farmers have also created their own storm of protest over the effects the coal seam gas industry will have on groundwater, with millions of litres taken from the aquifers while farmers have been forced to cut consumption.
Western Downs Council member Ray Jamieson said the blockade had been brewing for a long time.
"There's a lot of angst in the community. It's inevitable that this happened. There are too many questions that have not been answered," he said.
A spokesman for QGC said the company had all the legal approvals to do the work and did not want a confrontation.
He said the seismic work was to help the environment by making sure the drilling work was accurate.