Rinehart’s Alpha mine the beginning of the end for the Great Barrier Reef

Press release - 28 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-
 per year. This is equivalent to the emissions from 18 million Australian cars or 11% of   Australia’s 2010 domestic emissions.

If built, it would be bigger than any coal mine currently operating in Australia and would be the first of the Galilee Basin ‘mega-mines.

 The approval of the project was announced on the Queensland Government Website
 on Friday but was then retracted with the actual approval being re-announced formally today.

 “We imagine that Gina Rinehart didn’t want this mine approval to happen on the same day as her “Enterprise Migration Agreement” to bring in foreign workers for her Roy Hill mine was creating national controversy,” 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.”

 Rinehart sold a 79% stake in the mine to Indian Infrastructure Group GVK last year, along with 100% in the rail line and port.

 “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 concern over the impacts of the coal port at Abbot Point – in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area”.

 “As well as all the direct impacts, this mine would be a major climate disaster. We are going to fight it every step of the way,” Hepburn continued.  “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 the mine site, the rail line and the port,” Hepburn concluded.

 For further comment contact

Greenpeace Campaigner, John Hepburn: 0407 231 172
Greenpeace Media Officer, Julie Macken: 0400 925 217