Carmichael Coal Mine: Unacceptable Impacts on Major Rivers and Groundwater

Published: December 08, 2013

Former senior government water planner and co-author of the recent report 'Draining the Lifeblood: Groundwater impacts of coal mining in the Galilee Basin', Tom Crothers, says the recent Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement released for the Carmichael coal mine, in the Galilee Basin, confirms that the mine will have unacceptable, long-term impacts on the Region’s water resources.

The supplementary Environmental Impact Statement for the Carmichael Mine and Rail Project, proposed by Adani in Central Queensland is on public exhibition until 20 December.  

“Some 297 billion litres of water will be removed from the groundwater aquifers over the life of the Carmichael mine[1] and some of this water may come from Great Artesian Basin aquifers,” said Mr Crothers.

“This massive loss of groundwater will result in drawdown of aquifers in the surrounding area which will impact on neighbouring cattle stations for many generations after the mining has stopped. 

“The mine will also have a profound impact on the Carmichael and Belyando Rivers.  The loss of groundwater inflow to the Carmichael River will increase the periods of no flow in the river   thus harming downstream users and adversely impacting on the vegetation that lines the watercourse.

"The mine also represents a major threat to water quality, with plans to directly discharge polluted mine water into the Carmichael River - a major river system which is vital to the future of primary production and the environment in the region" he said.

The Lock the Gate Alliance is calling on its supporters and the wider community to make submissions on the huge mine complex due to the long-term damage it will do to water resources in the region. Submissions must be made by 20 December, 2013.

“This project is double the size of any coal mine currently existing in Australia and the company, Adani, has a very bad record of environmental management overseas" said Ellie Smith, Central Qld Co-ordinator for the Lock the Gate Alliance.

"Adani are also currently under investigation in Australia for breaching environmental guidelines at their coal export terminal at Abbot Point, in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

"Quite frankly, we do not trust this company to undertake extensive mining activities that threaten our precious water resources and we think everyone living and relying on the Carmichael and Beylando Rivers should lodge objections to this mine" she said.

The Lock the Gate Alliance has undertaken a preliminary review of the SEIS which also reveals major social impacts resulting from a fly-in/fly-out workforce of up to 3,700 people proposed for the area and substantial damage to threatened plants and animals if the mine proceeds.

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