Lock the Gate Alliance has called on the Federal Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg, to reject Clive Palmer’s Alpha North Coal mine outright, at the early referral stage, because of the unacceptable impacts it will have on water resources.
The Alliance made the call in a submission on the referral to the Federal Government under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Public submissions on the referral closed yesterday.
The project proposed by Palmer’s Waratah Coal, north-west of Emerald, would essentially consist of two separate coal mines each with a production capacity of 40Mtpa of thermal coal and each dependent on a different rail project being built.
“The impacts of this monster coal mine on scarce water resources will be immense and are completely unacceptable in the dry country of Central Queensland,” said Carmel Flint, spokesperson for Lock the Gate Alliance.
“The referral completely ignores research by the Federal Government’s own Bioregional Assessment which has highlighted concerns about the impacts of mines in this area on precious natural spring systems associated with the Great Artesian Basin.
“Minister Frydenberg needs to explain how he could possibly allow this project to proceed past this point when it ignores his own Bioregional Assessment process, into which millions of taxpayer dollars have been sunk.
“The referral also ignores the cumulative impacts of the eight other coal mines that are proposed in the Galilee Basin – which would drain an estimated 2,007 billion litres of groundwater over their lives.
“The monster mine would also make a massive contribution to climate change - burning the coal from the mine for power generation will release approximately 170 mtpa of CO₂, putting our farm productivity and natural resources at risk from extreme weather.
“Allowing such a project to commence in 2030 and run for up to 30 years is completely incompatible with Australia meeting the Paris Climate Agreement.
“The Minister has all the power he needs to step in and to stop this project in its tracks right now. That’s the only way to go if he has any regard for the water resources of Central Queensland,” she said.