‘Training mine’ scheme attempted in Queensland

A former union boss who made millions of dollars setting up a NSW coal mine which he claimed was a training facility allegedly tried the same scheme in Queensland.

John Maitland is giving evidence at the Independent Commission Against Corruption this week as it investigates how he came to be granted a mining licence in the Hunter Valley when the department had advised against it.

It has been confirmed Mr Maitland also established Springsure Mining Pty Ltd to bid for a mining licence in central Queensland.

Craig Ransley, an investor in the Hunter Valley mine, bankrolled the project.

A spokesman for the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines said Springsure Mining representatives gave then-mining minister Geoff Wilson a verbal presentation.

The spokesman emphasised Mr Maitland, former Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union boss, was not at the meeting but the representatives proposed building a training mine near Springsure in Queensland.

“Present at the meeting with Minister Wilson were Mr Craig Ransley, executive chairman of Resco Services Pty Ltd, and Mr Peter Murray, who at the time was a recently retired national secretary of the CFMEU,” the spokesman said.

“No commitments were given by Minister Wilson at the meeting and no further action was taken by the department about this proposal.”

Just months before the January 2009 meeting, Mr Maitland’s company had been granted a licence to mine in Doyle Creek – estimated to have between 300 million and 550 million tonnes of coal – though no other tenders were sought for it.

In the company’s exploration application Mr Maitland, a former head of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, said it had 70 million tonnes and would be used as a training mine.

The licence was announced by the NSW state government on Christmas Eve 2008 and just one month later Mr Maitland’s company sought a personal meeting with the Queensland minister to pitch a similar “training” mine.

Department records indicate Springsure Mining Pty Ltd has never lodged an application for a mining licence in central Queensland.

Mr Maitland’s NSW company, Doyles Creek, was sold into NuCoal in 2010 and floated on the ASX with shares skyrocketing in price.

Mr Maitland’s $165,000 investment into the company turned into a portfolio worth up to $14 million.

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