Carmichael Decision Risks Great Artesian Basin

Published: July 28, 2014

Lock the Gate’s Central Queensland spokesperson, Ellie Smith, says the decision by Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to approve the Carmichael Mine effectively admits that the mine will affect the Great Artesian Basin.

“You can’t build one of the biggest coal mine’s in the world without doing great damage to ground and surface water systems and the communities that depend on them,” she said.

"It's not possible for any conditions to protect the bushland and water systems in the region from a mine this size - it is quite simply not safe and not appropriate."

“Environment Minister Greg Hunt has ignored his own panel of top water scientists and is putting the Great Artesian Basin at further risk by allowing mine dewatering to drain the Basin.”

She warned investors of the risks involved in the project. 

“If the conditions set by Minister Hunt and the Queensland Government are adhered to it will be a number of years before work can start at the site. Adani’s aggressive push into the Galilee Basin will fall apart when they begin to try to implement the promises they’ve made to the government.”

"Adani has a dreadful history of environmental vandalism yet both the state & federal government choose to ignore this", she said.

 - Ends -

Notes: 

More work to be done

Further management plans, monitoring and modelling must still be undertaken to assess and manage impacts on water, endangered springs and threatened species. 

Huge extraction of groundwater resource

The Carmichael Mine would extract up to 12.5 billion litres of water every year, which Adani's own assessment predicts will mean a lowering of the water table beyond the boundary of the mine by as much as 20-50m.  Losing access to groundwater would spell disaster for local cattle stations, residents and the endangered species who rely on  groundwater in dry times. See Lock the Gate Alliance's Report Draining the Lifeblood.

Impacts on landholders

Concerns of landholders along Adani’s proposed rail corridor (leading from the Carmichael Mine to a coal export port on the Great Barrier Reef) include increased risk of flooding, health impacts from coal dust, difficulties moving their cattle across the line, falling property prices and the prospect of compulsory acquisition.

The route of the North Galilee Rail proposal crosses highly flood prone country that regularly experiences flooding.  The construction of the rail line on major floodplains would substantially change surface water flows and lead to altered flood patterns, with major flooding risking a significant loss of food-producing land.

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