25th May 2012: Greenpeace today vowed to fight Gina Rinehart’s Alpha coal project after it was rubber stamped by the Queensland Coordinator General despite major environmental and landowner concerns not being addressed.
“This project would be a climate catastrophe and should not be approved” said Greenpeace senior campaigner, John Hepburn. “If the Alpha coal project goes ahead and the Galilee Basin is developed, it would undermine our chances of limiting global warming to 2 degrees or less.”
The burning of coal from the Alpha mine at peak capacity will result in 65 million tonnes of CO2-e per year. This is equivalent to the emissions from 18 million Australian cars or 11% of Australia’s 2010 domestic emissions.
The approval of the project was announced on the Queensland Government Website http://www.deedi.qld.gov.au/cg/alpha-coal-project.html earlier today. The website described the project status as: “Determined that project can proceed subject to conditions”.
However, in an apparent backtrack, the status has how been replaced with “EIS active”
“We imagine that Gina Rinehart doesn’t want this mine approval to happen on the same day as the first ever “enterprise migration agreement” is announced for her Roy Hill mine in Western Australia ,” said Hepburn. “It is no secret that Gina Rinehart wants to use foreign workers for her mines and the Alpha mine will be no exception.”
“It is clear the Alpha mine has been rubber stamped but the announcement will probably be pushed back a day or two so Rinehart’s questionable IR policies don’t dominate media coverage.”
Rinehart sold a 79% stake in the mine to Indian Infrastructure Group GVK last year.
“We don’t think GVK knew what they were getting into when they bought a majority stake in this mine,” said Hepburn. “There are major problems with landowners over the rail route, outstanding environmental issues on the mine site, as well as the climate impacts. We are going to fight it every step of the way.”
“The project still needs to be approved under the EPBC Act by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke so we are calling on Tony Burke to insist on proper environmental studies to be conducted on both the mine site and the rail line,” Hepburn concluded.
For further comment contact
Greenpeace Campaigner, John Hepburn: 0407 231 172
Greenpeace Media Officer, Julie Macken: 0400 925 217