Kelly Butterworth

Dingo West mine rehabilitation 'unviable'

A CENTRAL Queensland conservationist believes rehabilitating the Dingo West mine will render it unfeasible.

Cockatoo Coal yesterday announced it would undertake site exploration following a $3.5 million, three-year deal with Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation.

The Japanese government owned corporation entered into a joint exploration agreement which will give JOGMEC a 35% economic interest in Dingo West.

The deal is subject to Australian Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

However, Capricorn Conservation Council coordinator Michael McCabe said the current coal price, and the seam depth at Dingo West, raised concerns about rehabilitating the site.

"If you had to properly rehabilitate that it would probably make the mining of coal, with the current price, economically unviable," he said.

Cockatoo acquired the Dingo West project after taking over Blackwood Corporation last year.

Cockatoo managing director Andrew Lawson said the Japanese interest reinforced their decision to invest in the area.

"I am pleased that the project has attracted such significant interest, validating its value to Cockatoo following the acquisition of Dingo West as part of our recent takeover of Blackwood Corporation," he said.

Mr McCabe said the mine was in a sensitive location, adjacent to two national parks and home to the only known bridled nail-tail wallaby colony.

"This is a critically endangered wallaby that was thought to be extinct 20-30 years ago," he said.

Mr McCabe said while the mine was outside the national park he was concerned about how it might impact the area's ecology and water flow.