Greenpeace welcomes delay on major new QLD coal mine

Press release - 8 August, 2013
Greenpeace today welcomed the decision by federal Environment Minister Mark Butler to postpone for almost 3 months a decision on the massive new Kevin’s Corner coal mine proposed for central Queensland.

The mine would be larger than any existing coal mine in Australia and would use over 9 billion litres of water every year, raising major concerns about its impact on groundwater supplies vital for farms in the region.

“This new monster mine would clear over 8,000 hectares of bush land, permanently deplete groundwater reserves, and result in more greenhouse gas emissions than many small countries” said Greenpeace Queensland Campaigner Louise Matthiesson.

“Although we believe there are strong grounds to reject this destructive proposal outright, we’re heartened that the new Environment Minister Mark Butler has delayed the approval to allow more time for the impacts on groundwater to be properly investigated.”

The Kevin’s Corner proposal is the first coal mine to be assessed against the new “water trigger” added to federal environment laws in June, after outcry over the effects of coal and gas operations on the nation’s water supplies.

The Independent Expert Panel on mining water impacts, set up at the urging of independent MP Tony Windsor, raised the alarm about the groundwater impacts of Kevin’s Corner, concluding: "Long-term (post- mining) predictions indicate that groundwater levels would not recover to pre-mining levels adjacent to the project, thus the groundwater resources would be ‘mined’ from the Permian Sandstone and permanently lost."

“It’s completely unacceptable that a polluting coal mine could be allowed to drain the water supplies that cattle properties rely on, and divert water from Fairbairn Dam which supplies nearby irrigators,” said Matthiesson.

Development of the Galilee Basin will also require the creation of the world’s largest coal port in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area in order to export the coal.

This week, Minister Butler must also decide whether to allow millions of tones of dredging to go ahead.

“We urge the Minister to take a similar approach with the decision due this Friday on the controversial plans for dredging in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area at Abbot Point in north Queensland,” said Matthiesson.

“Coal port developers want to dredge up 3 million cubic metres of seabed and dump the waste at an unspecified location within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.”

“The dredging proposal should be rejected completely; the world would be horrified if Australia allowed such destructive activity within the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.”

For more information contact:
Greenpeace Communications and Media Alison Orme 0432 332 104
  Spokesperson Louise Matthiesson 0406 041 428

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