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Winchester South

The Winchester South Coal Project is a new open-cut thermal and metallurgical coal mine in Central Queensland proposed by Whitehaven Coal. The project’s EIS reveals it would produce about 11 million tonnes of coal each year for 30 years.

This project would be Whitehaven Coal’s first coal mine in Queensland, however they have operated for the last 10 years in NSW, where they have been exposed as environmental criminals who repeatedly infringe and break the law without concern for the impacts on water resources, the environment or affected communities.

Read more about Whitehaven's appalling record here

Climate Impacts

The project will produce 547Mt of CO2e in total, which is almost equivalent to Australia’s entire annual emissions. If the project goes ahead it will undoubtedly make a major contribution to climate change, putting the health of children, workers and the people of Central Queensland at grave risk.

The Scope 1 emissions of 14.2Mt alone will also make it almost impossible for the Queensland Government to meet its 30% greenhouse emissions reduction target by 2030.


Water Issues

The project, which is located on the Issac River floodplain, would drain local groundwater at an average of 183 million litres each year, with a potential maximum rate of 352 million litres each year into the mine pits. The project also represents a serious pollution risk to the Isaac River with mine-affected wastewater to be directly discharged into the river.

The company’s EIS reveals it plans to leave four un-rehabilitated pit voids (giant holes where mining has occurred) at the end of the mine's life. These pits will continue to drain water from the surrounding area and concentrate heavy metals and salts in the voids. 

The Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development has criticised Whitehaven's plan, stating:

"Four residual voids will remain and sit just outside the mapped floodplain of the Isaac River. The water in these residual voids will become hypersaline, leading to potential impacts on the surrounding groundwater system (e.g., the alluvium), the Isaac River and biota within and near the residual voids."

Biodiversity Impacts

The project would clear at least 2,000 hectares of vegetation including 719 hectares of remnant vegetation, in a locality that is already more than 90% cleared. All remaining vegetation, remnant or regrowth, is significant to species survival in such a landscape and pushing an area beyond 90% clearance is likely to have very severe impacts on ‘common’ and threatened species alike.

At least 16 important or threatened animals, plants, and ecosystems including the Koala, Greater Glider, Squatter Pigeon and Ornamental Snake would be impacted by the project.