Glencore’s planned Valeria coal project is proof the company’s recently announced emissions reduction targets won’t stop it trying to build new massively polluting coal mines that would destroy farmland and hasten the worst impacts of the climate crisis.
The mining giant referred the 20 million tonne per annum coal project to the federal government under the EPBC Act last week.
The documents show that if approved, the six pit open cut mine would destroy 10,364.5 ha of land 270km west of Rockhampton near Capella - a key agricultural region where wheat, sorghum, and beef are produced.
The rail line and associated infrastructure would impact a further 12,000 hectares, including prime farmland and important habitat for at least 17 threatened species or ecological communities, including the koala and greater glider.
The referral of the project, which Glencore proposes would have a 35 year lifespan, comes at a time when the multinational coal company is trying to portray itself as less polluting, following the release of its carbon reduction strategy.
Lock the Gate Queensland spokesperson Ellie Smith said the coal project revealed Glencore was banking on the world to miss its climate targets.
She said it would also damage rivers and farmland, thereby threatening the future potential of the region.
“It’s a crazy proposal to build a multi pit open cut coal mine so close to Emerald - a key agricultural region - when the International Energy Agency has clearly stated no more fossil fuel projects should be built if we’re to keep global warming to a minimum,” she said.
“The Valeria coal project poses an unacceptable risk to farmland and to Theresa Creek, a known habitat of numerous threatened species and a waterway relied on by communities in the region for agriculture.
“The mine would divert waterways in a region that is prone to flooding - significant rainfall events have caused disastrous spills at nearby mine sites in the past, with heavy metals flowing into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
“This coal project shows Glencore is betting on the world to miss its climate targets and to fall victim to catastrophic global warming.
“That’s despite Glencore publicly claiming a Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions reduction goal of 15% by 2026 and 50% by 2035 on 2019 levels. In light of this new coal mine plan, these goals look like nothing more than greenwashed propaganda.
“If the Morrison and Palaszczuk governments approve this project, they will have no hope of meeting their stated emissions reduction targets. That means yet more extreme weather for Queenslanders.
“There is clearly no justification for approving this coal mine.”