David Luke from Lignum Station.
David Luke from Lignum Station.

Meet the Central Queensland landowner taking on Bravus

A Central Queensland landowner is refusing to give up after being locked in a five-year David versus Goliath battle with a mining giant.

David Luke from Lignum Station near Clermont says Bravus Mining and Resources - formerly known as Adani - has reneged on its agreement to build a road and boundary fence near the Carmichael Mine project.

Mr Luke said he entered into a land swap agreement with Bravus in 2015 and part of the deal involved the mining giant building a new road and boundary fence mitigate impacts on his property.

He said work was supposed to start on the infrastructure soon after Bravus was granted its mining lease.

But five years on, Mr Luke said the Indian miner was "dragging things out" and still had not built the fence or road.

Isaac Regional Council aired the dispute last week, publicly calling on Bravus to address a list of concerns it had about the mine, including the claim a local landowner was being "detrimentally impacted".

Isaac Mayor Anne Baker said Bravus was not being "good corporate citizens" after the council unanimously supported an urgent mayoral minute restating its position on the project.

"It's just wrong - they're just completely walking over the top of us," Mr Luke said.

"We're running our cattle station full-time and that busy doing our work trying to fight fires, floods and drought.

" … You haven't got time to fight them and if you did, it costs you money."

Progress on the Carmichael Mine. Picture: Cameron Laird
Progress on the Carmichael Mine. Picture: Cameron Laird

In a statement, a Bravus spokeswoman said The Elgin Rd and The Moray Carmichael Boundary Rd were public council-owned roads that together formed the Mine Access Road for the Carmichael Project.

"We have approval from the Isaac Regional Council to use this road, including the section in front of Mr Luke's property, as an access road for the mine site," the spokeswoman said.

"We have been working with Isaac Regional Council regarding the upgrade of the Mine Access Road for a number of years now.

"The council is refusing approval on the upgrade design and is making requests including insisting that the local council road has a higher flood immunity level than sections of the Bruce Highway.

"We do not think this is sensible and what we are asking is for the council to take a pragmatic approach to these discussions, so we can get on with safely upgrading the road."

The spokeswoman said Bravus was funding all ongoing maintenance work on the council-owned road and there was no cost to the council or the ratepayers within the Isaac Region.

"The cost to upgrade this road is in excess of $100 million and will provide more than 100 jobs over the next two years," she said.

Mr Luke said mine vehicles and workers' use of the current road was causing health and safety issues.

"I kept trying to work with them to put that road and fence in and then they just kept making up excuses about why they couldn't put the road in," Mr Luke said.

"They're using the existing road and it's not a mine access road.

"(The) agreement was they were building a new road away from my house."

He said the mine vehicles had created dust, noise and safety concerns for his family.

"I was sitting there one day with my son and a car came past and cleaned up a (kangaroo) 20 metres away from us," Mr Luke said.

"It killed this roo and took it down the road a bit."

Concrete sleepers have been delivered to develop the rail line for Adani's Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland. Picture: Cameron Laird
Concrete sleepers have been delivered to develop the rail line for Adani's Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland. Picture: Cameron Laird

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The landowner said all he wanted was for Bravus to hold up its end of the agreement and build the infrastructure it promised.

"I can't see how the government would let them get away with doing what they're doing," Mr Luke said. 

"I have got nothing against the mine, the mine is good for the community, for Australia and the economy.

"I want (the road and fence) finished … I'm just sick of it."

A Department of Resources spokesman said there was a compensation agreement in place between Bravus and Mr Luke covering the construction of a fence, but not the construction of any roads.

"Either party is able to apply to Land Court to amend the terms of the compensation agreement," the spokesman said.


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