CRACKED IT: John Eden took this aerial photograph of Gibihi
Rd, Moura, on March 18.
CRACKED IT: John Eden took this aerial photograph of Gibihi Rd, Moura, on March 18. John Eden

Anglo unveil solution to Gibihi Rd disaster

AN upgrade to Three Chain Rd has been proposed by Anglo American to replace the damaged Gibihi Rd.

The proposal, expected to cost tens of millions of dollars, was presented by Anglo American metallurgical coal chief executive David Diamond at a community briefing in Moura on Wednesday night

The solution was reached after Anglo looked at several alternatives and spoke to more than 120 people during focus group sessions held in the past two weeks.

Mr Diamond said cracking in the underlying rock beneath Gibihi Rd was up to 90m deep and this made reopening it unviable.

"During our focus groups the general consensus was that reopening Three Chain Rd was the favoured option.

"So over the past few weeks we have been working on developing this plan and that is what we have presented here,” he said.

The new Three Chain Rd will link the undamaged stretch of Gibihi Rd to Three Chain Rd, traverse the mine site, include a bypass over the conveyor belt and haul road and intersect with the Dawson Highway near the pony club.

Some residents were concerned about trucks using this route being stopped over the railway line, others had concerns about trucks hauling cotton having to travel through town to access the cotton gin and asked why Three Chain Rd could not be redirected to come out on Theodore- Moura Rd near the gin.

Mr Diamond said this had been looked at but there were concerns about the road traversing floodplains and Kianga Creek.

Mr Diamond also refuted accusations a recent blast on the mine site had further damaged Gibihi Rd.

He said geotechnical monitoring equipment had been installed following the initial blast that damaged the road in November and it clearing showed that recent blasting at the mine had had no impact on the damaged area.

Banana Shire Mayor Nev Ferrier said the council still held hope the mine's haul road running parallel to the south of Gibihi Rd could be developed into an alternative road and had engaged GHD to do geotechnical studies on this road to ascertain if it was suitable.

"We will have the results back in a week and then we will know whether to pursue this option with Anglo.”

Cr Ferrier stressed that GHD had been engaged by the council and it was not one of the two contractors being used by the mining company to carry out similar tests.

Council will also spend $1 million before the end of June to widen sections of the Theodore-Moura Rd and that they had similar works planned to upgrade this road over the next few years, with this money coming from the government's Royalties to the Regions program.

He said the council would continue discussions with Anglo about upgrades needed to this road to cater for trucks carting cotton and grain, now that Gibihi Rd was closed.