News

Mines under investigation for dumping water into rivers

Rio Tinto's Kestrel mine is one of six being investigated by the State Government.
Rio Tinto's Kestrel mine is one of six being investigated by the State Government. MCP

AT LEAST six coal mines, including one owned by the Chinese Government, are being investigated by the State Government for dumping water into Central Queensland rivers without permission as flooding rains swept the region.

The Observer can reveal in January alone, two mines owned by Rio Tinto, one by Anglo American and a trio of smaller operators landed in the crosshairs of the state's Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, accused of releasing mine water in breach of environmental conditions.

In total, 30 coal mines in the Bowen Basin region - north-west of Rockhampton - released millions of litres of water from their sites.

Most were deemed "compliant" by the state, as these discharges fell within guidelines set by the government. Six were not.

On January 29, Environment Minister Andrew Powell's office released a statement saying mine water made up roughly one-third of 1% of the Fitzroy River - as water in its trillions of litres diluted discharges from mines.

Mr Powell said 5710 mega litres - or 5.71 billion litres - of water was "mine affected" on that Tuesday, a "drop in the ocean" compared to the three trillion litres that washed it out to sea.

The water releases, he said, were being closely watched by the departments for both Environment and Mines.

On the day of Mr Powell's statement, a spokesman for the Department of Environment told APN the state was yet to learn how much water was released from at least one mine when its dam apparently overflowed into 30 Mile Creek.

The spokesman said although the department was seeking more information from the mine, it "does not anticipate any adverse environmental impacts as a result of the release" but would conduct an investigation.

Later that week, the department released to APN a list of mines now being investigated for "non-compliant" releases of mine water, including:

  • Middlemount Coal Mine, owned by Peabody
  • German Creek Mine, Anglo American
  • Hail Creek Mine, Rio Tinto
  • Kestrel Mine, Rio Tinto
  • Minerva mine, Sojitz
  • Yarrabee Mine, Yancoal. Yancoal is a subsidiary of Yankuang Group - a coal company owned by the Chinese Government.

Department of Environment's Deputy Director-General Dean Ellwood said mines would face "appropriate enforcement action" if they were found to have broken environmental rules.

Topics:  central queensland, coal mining, mine water discharge, mining, rio tinto, state government




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'All I heard when my baby cried was ‘you’re a terrible mum'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images of Katie Dykes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

KATIE'S battle with PND is not unlike many mothers.

'I just thought all mums got no sleep'

MELTOPIA battled PND with all four of her children.

4 survival tips for mummas heading back to work

The few reminders every working mum needs to read.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

OPINION: Who are these people? Senate parties explained

Thirty-eight parties are vying for your Senate vote. Be wise about where your preferences are going.

What you need to know about the Senate parties you've never heard of

ELECTION 2016: Still in line? Your vote will count

Opposition leader Bill Shorten

Rolling coverage of the 2016 federal election

NAIDOC Week about bringing our community together

Naidoc week on the Fraser Coast - committee members Les Raveneau and Martine Britton with a list of events planned for the region.Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

NAIDOC Week is about bringing the entire community together.

Latest deals and offers

Jannean Dean Wide Bay Glenn Lazarus Team candidate

2016 Federal Election - Jannean Dean - Glenn Lazarus Team candidate for Wide Bay places her vote at St Pauls Church Hall in Maryborough.

Wide Bay candidate for the Glenn Lazarus Team - Jannean Dean talks to the Fraser...

Damian Huxham one nation candidate for hinkler

2016 Federal Election - One Nation candidate for Hinkler Damian Huxham with helpers (L) Joe Daley and Michael Robinson at Hervey Bay High School.

The Fraser Coast Chronicle catches up with One Nation candidate for Hinkler Damian...

Tim Lawson Labor Candidate for Hinkler

2016 Federal Election - Labor candidate for Hinkler Tim Lawson with helper Di Smith at Hervey Bay High School.

The Fraser Coast Chronicle catches up with Labor Candidate for Hinkler Tim Lawson...

Burnett Heads housing development approved

COUNCIL APPROVED: A Burnett Heads housing development has been approved by Bundaberg Regional Council. Photo Contributed

Councillors approved the development seven votes to four

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward