BREAKING: A huge new coal mine approved

Feature Story - 22 August, 2012
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has just approved the Alpha coal project in Queensland. If built, it would be as big as any coal mine operating in Australia, and marks the beginning of opening up the Galilee Basin to enormous coal developments.
©Greenpeace/Andrew Quilty

The announcement also accelerates the industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef. The coal from the Alpha mine will be exported through the Reef, leading to hundreds more coal ships and the construction of a huge new port facility within the World Heritage Area.

The Alpha development is an environmental disaster, threatening our Reef, our climate and wildlife in the mining area.

In June, The World Heritage Committee passed a strongly worded decision requesting Australia not 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.

Australia should be moving away from coal, not allowing polluting new coal developments that threaten the Great Barrier Reef.

Facts about the Alpha mine:

  • It’s owned by billionaire Gina Rinehart and Indian conglomerate GVK.
  • The open-cut Alpha mine will create a 24km scar across farms and bushland.
  • The project will require the clearing of thousands of hectares of high value habitat for a number of threatened species including the endangered black-throated finch and the vulnerable red goshawk squatter pigeon.
  • It would produce 30 million tonnes of coal each year, a massive new source of greenhouse pollution and the equal biggest coal mine ever built in Australia.
    It is the first coal mine to be approved in the Galilee Basin, opening up a new frontier for Australia’s polluting coal export industry.
  • The mine and its associated 495km 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’.

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.


  • Sign the Save Our Reef petition
  • Call Tony Burke on 02 6277 7640 and leave a message expressing your views. Once you have called, please email at us to let us know how you got on.