Things looking up in David vs Goliath battle with Bravus
Just like the battle of David versus Goliath, a Central Queensland landowner named David Luke could be headed for a favourable outcome in his stoush with a mining giant.
Last month, the Daily Mercury shared the plight of Mr Luke, who was refusing to give up after being locked in a five-year battle with Bravus Mining and Resources - formerly known as Adani.
He said Bravus had reneged on its agreement to build a road and boundary fence at his property near the Carmichael Mine project.
In an update this week, a Bravus spokeswoman said it was working towards upgrading the road, including a section in front of Mr Luke's property, as soon as a number of outstanding issues were resolved in relation to environmental approvals.
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 to mitigate impacts on his property.
He said work was supposed to start on the infrastructure soon after Bravus was granted its mining lease.
But in March, Mr Luke told the Daily Mercury the Indian miner was "dragging things out" and still had not built the fence or road.
"It's just wrong - they're just completely walking over the top of us," he said at the time.
The Bravus spokeswoman said the miner had paid some of Mr Luke's legal fees, given him a 15,900ha pastoral lease, provided an access easement through its property, paid for the ongoing services of ongoing agribusiness adviser and other items that were commercial-in-confidence.
"We understand and share Mr Luke's frustration that we have not yet been able to secure the relevant environmental approvals and the subsequent local council approvals needed to complete upgrades to the publicly-owned council road and complete fencing on his property," she said.
"We entirely reject claims that we have not treated the landholder Mr Luke well as we have provided him support and at all times treated him fairly and respectfully.
"We have tried to start fencing on the parts of Mr Luke's property where we can, however he has asked us to hold off continuing these works until the road design is approved and works are under way.
"We look forward to starting work to upgrade the public road, including the section in front of Mr Luke's property, as soon as a number of outstanding issues are resolved in relation to environmental approvals, after which Isaac Regional Council can approve the road design."
The Bravus spokeswoman said it also remained committed to working with the council in a "professional and constructive manner" after Isaac Mayor Anne Baker publicly called on Bravus to address a list of concerns it had about the mine.
"Bravus Mining and Resources provided a deputation to Isaac Regional Council late last month, which was constructive," the spokeswoman said.
The Daily Mercury contacted the council for comment, but did not receive a response by deadline.
Mr Luke said he was unable to provide comment.