Mining magnate Clive Palmer. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Mining magnate Clive Palmer. Picture: Alix Sweeney

Fears Clive Palmer’s CQ mine will harm Great Barrier Reef

An independent scientific group has raised environmental concerns over Clive Palmer's proposed Central Queensland Coal project near St Lawrence.

The project, proposed for Styx Basin, consists of an open cut operation and rail connection to the Queensland Rail North Coast Line.

The project intends to mine two million tonnes per annum of run-of-mine coal, which when processed will produce 1.5 million tonnes per annum of semi soft coking coal.

There are plans for the proposed mine to eventually ramp up production to 10 million tonnes a year.

Central Queensland Coal was first proposed four years ago, but the company's latest Environmental Impact Assessment amendment has drawn concern from the independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development.

The IESC fears the project could release pollutants into rivers and creeks that feed into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, drain creeks by up to 60 metres and threaten vulnerable animals like the koala and greater glider.

A map of the proposed Central Queensland Coal Project near St Lawrence. Picture: CQ Coal
A map of the proposed Central Queensland Coal Project near St Lawrence. Picture: CQ Coal

In its response to the amendment, it concluded that "the project presents very significant risks to nationally and internationally recognised assets with high ecological values, including the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area".

Lock the Gate Alliance Queensland spokeswoman Ellie Smith said the IESC's concerns should be taken seriously.

"In response to this damning environmental assessment, the Palaszczuk and Morrison governments must stand up to Clive Palmer and reject this terrible proposal now," Ms Smith said.

The Daily Mercur y contacted Mr Palmer and Central Queensland Coal for comment, but did not receive a response by deadline.

More stories:

New mine: CQ coal project promises 2350 jobs

WATCH: Work starts on Adani's open cut mine

Explained: Status of 7 major Bowen Basin mines

 

The site of the proposed Central Queensland Coal Project near St Lawrence. Picture: CQ Coal
The site of the proposed Central Queensland Coal Project near St Lawrence. Picture: CQ Coal

A spokesman for Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the project was being assessed under the bilateral assessment agreement with the Queensland Government, with the Queensland Department of the Environment and Science leading this.

"Approvals (for the project) will ultimately be required from the state authorities and from Environment Minister Sussan Ley under the EPBC Act," the spokesman said.

"The proponent has engaged closely with DES and the department in relation to the issues raised in the IESC advice.

"The Minster for the Environment is required to take into account any relevant advice obtained from the IESC and a State Assessment Report relating to the action, as well as submissions made during the public comment period."

A DES spokeswoman said it would consider the advice received from IESC in its decision about whether the EIS can proceed to the assessment report stage.

This decision is due at the end of February 2021.

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