Friends of Felton

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Friends of Felton

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Description

This web site has been developed by Friends of Felton Inc (FOF). The site exists for the specific purpose of expressing our opposition to mining development at Felton, and in particular a proposal to establish the so-called Felton Clean Coal Demonstration Project.

Physically, the project would be located at Felton, which is a farming district on the inner Darling Downs about 30 km south west of Toowoomba. Geologically, Felton lies in the Clarence Moreton Basin of SE Queensland to the west of the Great Dividing Range. In terms of water catchments, Felton is located at the headwaters of the Murray Darling Basin. Felton Valley is dissected by Hodgson Creek which runs into the Condamine River which in turn becomes the Balonne River before flowing into the Darling River.

The project proponent is Ambre Energy Limited. According to its Initial Advice Statement dated December 2008, Ambre is proposing to operate a 455 tonne per annum di-methyl ether (DME) pilot plant to demonstrate existing and new technology for the production of DME. The project would encompass a DME reactor, co-generation of electricity and an open cut mine to provide the feed stock. The mine would be developed in two stages; the initial stage would involve the extraction of 800,000 tonnes per annum of coal while the second stage would expand the extraction rate to 3.8 million tonnes per annum.

Ambre Energy have made no secret of its plans for further expansion of the project up to the extraction of 12.8 million tonnes per annum of coal.

Ambre Energy Limited (the Proponent) is an unlisted public company based in Brisbane. The proposal was not invited by the Felton community, nor was there any local consultation prior to release of the Initial Advice Statement that declared Ambre's intentions. It is apparent that Ambre made its decision to attempt a large open cut mine at Felton without any reference to the social and cultural history of the district, its demographics or the preferences and sensibilities of residents.

According to its Initial Advice Statement, Ambre Energy Limited was formed in June 2005 for the purpose of developing and commercialising new technologies for the more effective use of coal as a source of energy. Ambre claims to have about 180 shareholders but further details have not yet been provided.

FOF's core argument is that coal mining in the Felton Valley would inflict unacceptable impacts on agriculture, the natural environment and the community. While it is not against mining per se, FOF contends that the mine proposed for Felton is out of character with the prevailing environmental, social, economic and cultural parameters of the district.

FOF is motivated by three fundamental beliefs:

First, FOF believes it represents the dominant view of the Felton community and this view is total and absolute opposition to the entry, establishment and operation of the proposed Felton Clean Coal Demonstration Project. The Felton Valley is closely settled and therefore not suitable for mine-related development from a social perspective. The settlement pattern at Felton is typical of the inner Darling Downs meaning that any other mine develops within the greater region would exhibit similar problems.

Secondly, FOF does not believe the prices and safeguards currently imposed on the externalities that the proposed development would generate are sufficient to protect the welfare and best interests of future generations. This means that the proposal is not suitable from either a short term perspective (relevant to the incumbent generation) or a long term perspective (relevant to future generations).

Thirdly, because of the sheer scale of the threat posed by the Project, FOF believes that its assessment and determination will act as a test case for the farmland worthy of protection throughout Australia. Expressed negatively, if the Felton Coal Project is allowed to proceed, proposals to develop other mining developments across the Darling Downs and in other iconic farming areas, would be 'gifted' a powerful precedent. Such an eventuality would have dire consequences for national food security - especially 40 years on when Australia is predicted to have a population approaching 35 million people.

Type of group

Friend

Primary environmental focus

Mining

Geographic sphere or activity

Local

Primary location

Felton

Website link/s

Date of known website activity

November 10, 2013

Date of last group activity not on website (e.g., on social media)

April 2017

Known reason for group inactivity

Date was taken from last facebook post. Website no longer available.

Founding Year

2008

History of group

FOF formed early in 2008 and was incorporated in April 2009. It now operates as a legally constituted, self-funded community based organisation for the purposes of opposing coal mining in the Felton Valley.

n late 2009 FOF had more than 80 ordinary members and 14 associate members and continues to enjoy widespread community support. The organisation has had formal meetings every two weeks since its formation with an average attendance of more than 30 people at each meeting. In addition to scheduled meetings FOF have organised or participated in the following activities - listed in chronological order:

World Environment Day, Toowoomba, May 2008
Queensland Day, Toowoomba, May 2008
Photographic Exhibition, Nobby, Aug 2008
Climate Emergency Rally, Brisbane, Sept 2008
Carnival of Flowers parade, Toowoomba, Sept 2008
Two Film nights, Toowoomba and Pittsworth, Oct 2008
Protest at Premier's electoral office, Brisbane, Nov 2008
Pittsworth Show, Mar 2009
Wheelbarrow protest, Toowoomba, May 2009
Trivia Night, Toowoomba, May 2009
Queensland Government Carbon Challenge (ongoing)
FOF stall at the Pittsworth Show, March 2009
World Environment Day, Toowoomba, June 2009
Renewable energy seminar in Cambooya, August 2009
Submission to the Senate Inquiry into Mining in the Murray Darling Basin, Oakey, Sept 2009
Float in the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers Parade, Sept 2009
Presentation to the Toowoomba Regional Council, October 2009
Presentations to High School students and Landcare groups (ongoing)

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