A COAL company facing opposition to plans for one of Queensland's biggest mining projects on prime agricultural land is becoming a farmer.
"Mining and agriculture are two of the most important sectors in Queensland's economy," said Bandanna Energy managing director Michael Gray.
"We are committed to show the two can co-exist successfully."
The resources company is planning a $1.14 billion underground thermal coal mine that will produce 11 million tonnes a year at Springsure Creek, 47km south of Emerald in the resource-rich Bowen Basin.
The 10,736ha site includes top quality irrigation land used for growing wheat, cotton, chickpeas and other crops in central Queensland's "Golden Triangle" agricultural region.
The project had been given an exemption from laws to protect strategic cropping land by the Bligh government but was singled out by premier-to-be Campbell Newman before the state election as an example of projects that would not go ahead under an LNP government.
Bandanna's bid for a mining licence was refused last June due to technical and mapping errors in the application and Mr Gray admits "short-cuts" had been taken in the past.
But he is confident that an Environmental Impact Statement to be released tomorrow will overcome strong opposition to mining in the area.
Bandanna has bought the 2230ha Den-Lo Park farming property and will operate it as an agricultural business under a joint venture while mining goes on 250m below ground.
"We recognise this is some of the most productive agricultural land in Queensland. We share the views of farmers that food security will be a major issue globally. This is not a PR exercise," Mr Gray said.
The miner aims to increase production on the property and will invest $10 million in improvements.
ASX-listed Bandanna is still in discussions with four other local landowners about acquisition or compensation.
But the Golden Triangle Community Group of landowners says the proposed joint mining-agricultural proposal still contradicts LNP policy on protecting prime farmland.
The group claims subsidence from mining will affect the underground water source and could cause bores to dry up.
Read more on The Courier Mail