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Plibersek’s Ensham thermal coal mine approval adds 100 million tonnes of CO2-e to atmosphere

Lock the Gate Alliance condemns Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek’s approval of the Ensham coal mine expansion near Emerald in Central Queensland.

The expansion means the mine will extract 38 million tonnes of thermal coal between 2028 and 2037, and be responsible for up to 8.8 million tonnes of on site emissions, and an estimated 92 million tonnes of co2-e when the coal is burnt.

Minister Plibersek’s approval of the expansion comes shortly after the Queensland Palaszczuk Government granted environmental authority to the project. A mining lease is still being assessed. Both Lock the Gate Alliance (LTGA) and Environmental Advocacy in Central QLD (EnvA) submitted objections to the granting of the mining lease.

In its response to the project’s Environmental Impact Statement, LTGA also raised concerns that proposed poor rehabilitation of the site by owners Idemitsu would have a severe impact on the Nogoa River and could cause nearby farmland to subside.

Enva director Dr Coral Rowston said, “The Albanese Government’s hypocrisy is clear - ministers talk about transitioning away from fossil fuels to meet emission reduction targets, while at the same time approving new coal and gas projects.

"Extending Ensham the coal mine will impact local landholders, the local water quality, and species like the koala which will suffer due to changes to their habitat and the serious impacts of climate change.

"If the Albanese Government continues to approve new fossil fuel projects, our community can't start the transition to a new economy and our environment will continue to be destroyed."

Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator Ellen Roberts said Minister Plibersek’s approval of the coal mine would directly contribute to a worsening climate.

“In the middle of the climate crisis, Minister Plibersek has given Idemitsu permission to mine thermal coal that will be responsible for more 100 million tonnes of co2-e,” she said.

“This mine expansion also threatens the health of the Nogoa River and viability of surrounding farmland.

“We fear this will lead to land sinking, and potential contamination of surrounding waterways, which ultimately flow to the Great Barrier Reef.

“Minister Plibersek’s latest coal mine approval highlights the urgent need for a climate trigger. The burning of fossil fuels like coal is putting humanity on a fast track to climate catastrophe. The Albanese Government needs to face up to the facts that approvals like this contribute to dangerous climate change.”


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