Australia’s Queensland Government has blocked Fox Resources’ proposal to develop the Bundaberg coal project, on grounds that it is not in the public interest.

Queensland Resources Minister Scott Stewart said that Fox Resources’ application for a mineral development licence (MDL) has been refused.

Stewart stated: “There is significant adverse community sentiment about this mineral development licence. This is particularly in relation to the potential negative environmental, agricultural and social impacts in the Bundaberg region.

“I have given significant weight to the concerns of the community, which include Bundaberg Regional Council and Members of Parliament.”

He noted that the company failed to adequately demonstrate its ability to resolve or offset the concerns of the public.

Furthermore, Stewart said he considered an MDL with conditions as one of the options but was not satisfied considering the project would not adequately alleviate potential negative impacts, identified risks, and community concerns.

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In response, Fox Resources said it ‘does not agree or accept this decision’ and plans to pursue all avenues to have the decision overturned.

In a press statement, the firm said: “It should be noted that the MDLA 3040 is a continuation of the current Exploration Permit Contract (EPC1523) held and operated by Fox for the past ten years over the same tenement without incident.

“The tenement has always been in good standing, and the benefits of allowing the MDLA 3040 to proceed are significant.”

Fox Resources said that the minister, in making the decision, has not identified technical reasons or any scientific concern with the activities proposed under MDLA 3040.

The company’s exploration programme comprises a coal tenant near Bundaberg in Queensland.