Moreton Resources' CEO Jason Elks.
Moreton Resources' CEO Jason Elks. JULIEN>STAR

ATO chases $8 million from Moreton Resources

A MINING company that plans to build an open cut coal mine 5km from Kingaroy now owes the Australian Tax Office more than $8 million.

The ATO has given Moreton Resources until August 26 to pay $8,185,724.63, which the company plans to appeal through the AAT, a body that conducts independent reviews of Government administrative decisions. 

The balance relates to the company's (then known as Cougar Energy) Kingaroy UCG Trail Pilot Plant project to establish an underground coal gasification plant.

The Queensland Government pulled the plug on the project in 2011, and UCG projects have since been banned in Queensland due to their environmental impact.

In a statement Moreton Resources CEO Jason Elks said the company would attempt to appeal the debt.

"The AAT process is the basis for a significant outstanding claim, and the defence of already paid claims put forward by Moreton Resources based upon the former UCG activities," Mr Elks said.

"It is important to note that these claims and submissions have been made with the support and guidance of several top tier accounting firms, who specialise in R&D activities and support the view that these are valid and reasonable claims."

Whilst it is unknown at this stage what the news could mean for the potential Kingaroy development, KCCG spokesman John Dalton said he believed it could potentially hinder the process.

"Well to say they have to repay $8 million, their ability to fund an EIS is certainly short," Mr Dalton said.

"Put really simply, bad financial news for Moreton is good news for the environment, it's good for us as a community and for us who don't want this mine."

Moreton Resources, the ATO and Commonwealth Department of Environment have been contacted for comment.