Authorities refuse to allow a mining magnate’s coal development to proceed in Central Queensland’s Capricornia region.
The State Government recently rejected the environmental impact statement (EIS) for Clive Palmer’s Central Queensland Coal Project, about 130km northwest of Rockhampton.
“Overall, the project poses a number of unacceptable risks and that the project, as proposed, is not suitable. As such, I consider that the project is not suitable to proceed,” the Department of Environment and Science’s environmental impact assessment team said in its final report.
The department accused Mineralogy subsidiaries Central Queensland Coal and Fairway Coal of poorly explaining and examining the project’s effect on the local community.
“The EIS did not adequately describe and assess the potential negative economic impacts of the proposed project, including all potentially relevant stakeholder groups that may be affected by the project,” the department said.
“The EIS estimated the opportunity cost, in terms of the lost production of cattle grazing land from the impacted mine area would be approximately $1.92 million and $290,000 respectively.”
However, the proponents argued the project’s overall economic benefit of between $7.8 billion and $8.2B, plus royalties of between $703M and $766M, would easily outweigh any such loss.
The project proposal is as follows:
- greenfield, open-cut coal mine, extracting up to 10M tonnes annually of product thermal and coking coal
- transporting coal via the existing North Coast Rail Line to the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal for export
- conveyor system to transport coal to a new Train Load-out Facility
- two conventional Coal Handling and Preparation Plants (CHPPs)
- haul roads and ancillary access tracks
- two open-cut mine pits
- four sediment dams
- mine water dams
Up to 872 jobs
QMEB can reveal the initial cost of constructing the open-cut mine, CHPPs and processing infrastructure is estimated to be $262.3M. About 372 construction jobs were expected to be created throughout the construction phase plus a further 100-500 operational positions.
“The majority of the workforce is expected to be sourced locally with a component who would relocate, and augmented by a regional workforce,” the report said.
“Local workers are anticipated to drive to work and a bus service is being considered for workers commuting from Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Clairview and St Lawrence.”
Palmer refuses to budge
Palmer previously rejected any suggestion that his projects should be downsized or employ fewer mine workers.
“I have decided that I will keep 100 per cent of my extensive workforce on full wages, and I will support them and their families,” he said in a public statement.
“I believe at this critical time in our history all major employers need to be loyal to their staff as their staff have been loyal to them. All employers should recognise loyalty within their organisations.”
Protestors to blame
Anti-coal activists have claimed responsibility for influencing the department’s decision.
“People power has landed a historic blow against a Clive Palmer-owned coal mine proposed just 10km from the [Great Barrier] Reef! For the very first time, the Queensland Government has recommended that a coal mine is ‘not suitable to proceed’ due to unacceptable risks to the reef and water,” Stop Adani said on Facebook.
“This is a win for the community, for the climate and for our precious reef!”
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Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley will spend 30 days assessing the project and also decide whether the project should proceed.
“Now, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley MP must listen to scientists and the community and reject Clive Palmer’s reef-wrecking coal mine,” Stop Adani said.