Blair Athol mine, 24km north-west of Clermont.
Blair Athol mine, 24km north-west of Clermont. Contributed

Clean up deadlines being deferred, advocate claims

CLAIMS that the State Government had bowed to resource giants and deferred clean-up deadlines for shuttered mining projects have been rejected.

Advocate for Central Queensland mining towns Jim Pearce said he had heard rumours that the government was giving deferrals - of up to five years - in mine rehabilition timetables.

He referred to the Blair Athol site near Clermont in a letter to APN and said it would set a "worrying precedent" if true.

However, a Rio Tinto spokesman hosed down the allegation, saying parts of Blair Athol had been progressively rehabilited over decades as land became available.

He said the company was now in talks with the state over final plans to restore the area.

Work is expected to begin in about 12 months after final coal has been taken from the site.

"This work is planned to run over a period of around five years," he said.

"Beyond this, we will retain responsibility for ongoing monitoring and any further remediation work that may be required, as part of our long term commitment to the rehabilitation process.

"We have consulted progressively over many years with other members of the local community regarding land use after mining and will continue to keep them informed as our plans are finalised.

"The Queensland Government confirmed there was no deferral in place and it would continue to work with Rio Tinto on how best to rehabilitate the Blair Athol site.