Mega mine approval an environmental catastrophe

Press release - 22 August, 2012
23 August 2012: Greenpeace today slammed the approval by Minister Tony Burke of Gina Rinehart’s controversial Alpha Coal Project. If built, it would be as big as any coal mine operating in Australia, and would be the first of the proposed mega mines in Queensland’s untapped Galilee Basin.

“This project is an environmental disaster”, said Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner Georgina Woods. “The approval of this project flies in the face of Minister Burke’s commitment to protect the Great Barrier Reef, and it would have a devastating impact on the global climate”.

“Over half a million people have already signed a petition opposing banks financing this destructive project and we are going to fight it every step of the way,” Ms Woods continued.

The mine and its associated 500km rail line have been given the go ahead despite warnings from the Minister’s own Department in May that the assessment undertaken by the Queensland Government was ‘shambolic’.

“The assessment of this project was shambolic three months ago and it is shambolic now – proper environmental assessments have still not been done”, Woods continued.

In June, The World Heritage Committee passed a strongly worded decision requesting Australia not to permit any development that could impact on the outstanding universal values of the Great Barrier Reef.

“The Minister has rejected the warning from The World Heritage Committee. This decision means business as usual for destruction of the Great Barrier Reef and the global climate. The impacts of this project on marine areas have not been properly assessed.”

“The Reef is suffering death by a thousand cuts: as each mine, rail line and coal port is approved, so the coal industry expands creating a two-fold threat for the Reef. Not only does it make more likely the development of massive new terminals and increased shipping in the iconic World Heritage Area, but the coal from the mines also creates carbon pollution, which drives climate change and ocean acidification, and may well be its final cut.”

She concluded, “This project may have the Government’s approval, but it doesn’t have approval from the community. We’re calling on every Australian who believes the Reef is worth more than the profits of mining companies to join the battle to save our Great Barrier Reef.”

Images and footage available

For further information contact

Georgina Woods, Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner: 0437 405 932
James Lorenz, Greenpeace Communications Manager: 0400 376 021