Maryborough coal mine under the spotlight in Brisbane court hearing for risks to Great Sandy Strait

Published: August 15, 2016

The first hearing of a legal challenge against the proposed Colton open-cut coal mine, near Maryborough, will be held today in the Brisbane Land Court, as a local community group takes on New Hope Coal with a focus on risks to the Great Sandy Strait.

The objections by the Aldershot and District Against Mining Group relate to proposed discharge of untreated waste water from the mine into the Mary River, upstream of the Great Sandy Strait, as well impacts on the health and well-being of the local community.

Brian Linforth, spokesperson for Aldershot and District Against Mining, said "Our local group lodged the objection against the Colton coal mine almost 2 years ago because of our grave concerns about the impacts of the mine on our local community".

"Today we are very pleased that the matter will finally be heard in the Brisbane Land Court, with experts presenting their evidence on matters such as air quality, noise and water pollution.

“The proposed coal mine is located just over 2km from our village of our Aldershot, and we are concerned about the impacts of dangerous coal dust particles on our health and on the tank water which we rely on for drinking.

“We’re also very concerned about the increased noise levels associated with the mining operations.

"There are over 1042 residents in Aldershot whose health, property values and well-being are all under threat because of this risky coal mining venture" he said.

Drew Hutton from Lock the Gate Alliance said "It’s not just the Aldershot village at risk - all Queenslanders stand to lose from this ill-considered proposal by the mine proponents to dump untreated waste water from the Colton mine into the iconic Mary River.

"The extraordinary tourist attractions of Fraser Island and the Great Sandy Strait should not be a dumping ground for the mining industry.

"This mine proposal shows a complete disregard for the internationally significant wetlands and coastlines of the Wide Bay region, and the international attraction they present to tourists from around the world"

“Earlier this year the Palaszczuk Government announced funding to progress the nomination of the Great Sandy Straits as a World Heritage site, but allowing Colton coal mine to pollute the Mary River upstream will put that process in jeopardy” he said.

 

Attachment 1:  Background Briefing on the Colton Coal Mine

  • The proposed Colton Coal mine is planned for construction just 11km north of the major coastal centre of Maryborough and 20km west of Hervey Bay, in the Wide Bay Burnett region.
  • The Colton mine is a proposal for a 0.5Mtpa open cut coal mine to operate for ten years. The mine will be dug on public land in an important biodiversity corridor.
  • The township of Aldershot is located just over 2km from the proposed open cut mine site.
  • The local community is concerned about air quality from dangerous dust pollutants and from potential contamination of their rainwater drinking tanks.
  • The mine proposes to allow untreated mine water to be discharged directly into the Mary River, only 15km upstream of the river mouth and the Fraser Coast.
  • The discharge will include water contaminated with a range of heavy metals, including selenium and cadmium
  • The proposed discharge is upstream of both the internationally significant Great Sandy Strait Ramsar wetland and the Great Sandy Strait Marine Park.
  • The Great Sandy Straits are nursery grounds for the rich diverse sea life that is the backbone of the regional tourist economy, and is also a vital summer stopover for migratory birds from the northern hemisphere.
  • The Colton coal mine is owned by New Hope Coal, who along with associated companies, donated over $1.3 million to the Liberal and National Parties at a state and Federal level from 2010 to 2015.
  • The mine, if it proceeds, would be the first modern open-cut coal mine in the Maryborough Coal Basin.

Showing 19 reactions

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  • commented 2016-08-23 09:45:04 +1000
    Why are we doing this to our land and people? We are all custodians of this ancient land during our all too brief stay here and any economic benefit derived now by a handful of selfish people will soon be lost. The mine and money lovers might spare a thought for others as well as the local fauna and flora. Get real! Fight for jobs in renewables and pass on the benefits of clean air and healthy environment for generations to come. Get your heads out of the clouds of coal dust!
  • commented 2016-08-19 11:48:10 +1000
    their greed only has eyes for the prize and nothing for anyone or anything else. When are we going to see that this is not good business, ethical or long term practice on our beautiful land. The view of get in, get the goods and get out with maximum profit and destruction is no longer acceptable.
  • commented 2016-08-18 19:44:54 +1000
    This is insane and criminal …….
  • commented 2016-08-18 17:40:05 +1000
    oh my lord how much more of our country can these twits in control of our resources destroy,they close down eating areas due to hygiene so why would they think it is ok to pollute our waterways and our lands
  • commented 2016-08-18 15:05:14 +1000
    Unbelievable! I’ve just signed up so I can express my concern and disgust at this! How is it even legal in this day and age to deliberately pollute or waterways. Another reason we need to move to renewable energy now.
  • commented 2016-08-18 12:51:49 +1000
    Why are they even allowed to be mining for coal? What for?
    How dare anyone think they can damage and pollute any beautiful, natural area and then also get rid of their waste and created pollution in another beautiful, natural area! Massive Pollutors should be not only fined heavily and also Taxed Heavily, per gram of their waste, they should also be made a Public Criminal Example of for the rest of time. Treat them like other world pollutors like Exxon.
    If we dont do something about this pollution and destruction in Australia now, the ‘Lucky Country’ will so be the ‘Polluted Country’ that no one seems to care about. Good Luck with the Court Case. These money hungry pollutors need to be made accountable.
  • commented 2016-08-18 12:51:47 +1000
    Why are they even allowed to be mining for coal? What for?
    How dare anyone think they can damage and pollute any beautiful, natural area and then also get rid of their waste and created pollution in another beautiful, natural area! Massive Pollutors should be not only fined heavily and also Taxed Heavily, per gram of their waste, they should also be made a Public Criminal Example of for the rest of time. Treat them like other world pollutors like Exxon.
    If we dont do something about this pollution and destruction in Australia now, the ‘Lucky Country’ will so be the ‘Polluted Country’ that no one seems to care about. Good Luck with the Court Case. These money hungry pollutors need to be made accountable.
  • commented 2016-08-18 02:05:29 +1000
    Fantastic news. Good luck for a big win. Massive pollution should equal massive fines and costs paid for the clean-ups. Why this is not understood and/or shirked is the government’s responsibility and, therefore, their fault. Perhaps, with every lease granted there should be a contract to that end and a contingency “deposit” paid to the government should the operators pollute.
  • commented 2016-08-17 22:56:38 +1000
    Congratulations on getting this to court and may your challenge be successful for the benefit of all
    Queenslanders and our northern waters.
  • commented 2016-08-17 22:37:39 +1000
    Protect the present for the future!
  • commented 2016-08-17 19:53:00 +1000
    Please, don’t let money, kickbacks and power for once overuse common sense and decency – please leave some of our natural wonders / heritage alone… It’s not about you, we live in this country too..
  • commented 2016-08-17 17:40:55 +1000
    Absolute lunacy!
  • commented 2016-08-17 13:55:27 +1000
    Thats just so wrong! Why do they always have to ruin things
  • commented 2016-08-17 06:04:23 +1000
    No Way…What is wrong with our country?
  • commented 2016-08-16 23:08:03 +1000
    Leave the beautiful Mary River alone
  • commented 2016-08-16 20:03:58 +1000
    No way should this be allowed
  • commented 2016-08-16 17:36:57 +1000
    Look at their share price on ASX.com.au for NHC and look at announcements
  • commented 2016-08-16 16:54:34 +1000
    Absolutely outrageous!!!!!!
  • commented 2016-08-16 13:42:05 +1000
    I wonder how long it will be beofre coal mine owners reaise their days arenumbered. I can only hopoe the residents of the Burnett region will protest as loudly asthey did for the Mary River damming project a few back andkeep this beautiful region clean for the priceless areas such a Frazer Island and the Whale population which keep any financial rewards within the community and not the mining investors.

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