THE SITE of the Colton mine is an ecologically delicate area that is inappropriate for a coalmine, according to Maryborough conservationist Emma-Kate Currie.
After examining the second draft environmental management plan lodged by the owners of the proposed mine, Northern Energy Corporation, Ms Currie said she remained convinced the project should not go ahead.
"The proposal is still that they will remove 110 hectares of vegetation in the middle of a biodiversity corridor that has been designated...for endangered and vulnerable species," she said.
"This is a huge risk to wildlife and vegetation."
Ms Currie was also concerned at processes that would remove water from the water table over a 3km radius, potentially leaving vegetation to die if there was an extended period of drought.
"The water that they are extracting will be held in dams but they will still have a pipeline to the Mary River," she said
"The water is likely to have high salinity and trace metals in it which will affect the river's ecosystem."
She said the mine was too close to major waterways.
"The impact that the mine will have environmentally, socially and on commercial fishing, will far outweigh the 100 jobs it creates," Ms Currie said.
NEC acting chief executive Shane Stephan said the effects on flora and fauna at the Colton mine site had been independently reviewed and findings were part of the environmental management plan.
"The mine will not cause long-term impacts to the bioregional terrestrial corridor as the project is surrounded by a buffer of remnant vegetation which will encourage connectivity of flora and fauna during operations," he said.
Mr Stephan said the vegetation was not affected by the groundwater aquifer in question and detailed modelling studies were undertaken to assess the potential impacts of the proposed discharge to the Mary River.
"Studies show that under most weather scenarios and flow conditions of the river, the water quality objectives of the river will be maintained," he said.