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.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

OPINION: How to prepare your child for day care

Your kids will love childcare, but it may take some adjusting.

GETTING your child ready for day care is vital.

MUMS' TOP 5: 'Musts' to have on your childcare checklist

SOME FALL SHORT: Organisations that train childcare workers will be subjected to extra audits.

SENDING your child off to day care can be daunting and confusing.

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

Weekend police round-up: moped rider charged

BLOODY IDIOT: Police charged a man with drink-driving after he blew .196 on Saturday.

Man almost four times over limit

Cold shock as temps dive below 6 in Bundaberg

CHILLY: Steam rising off the Burnett River at Cedars Crossing, South Kolan, on Sunday morning.

June six degrees colder than average

Latest deals and offers

WIDE BAY LEAGUE: Cameron Hanrahan talks about United Warriors' win

WIDE BAY LEAGUE: Cameron Hanrahan talks about United Warriors' 4-3 win over Sunbury...

Darren Pratt Local Farmer

LOCALLY GROWN: Darren Pratt with his box of fresh local produce.Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail

LOCALLY GROWN: Darren Pratt with his box of fresh local produce.

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum says she reduced Oliver Curtis's sentence due to comments...

Is this state’s cheapest house?

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

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward

CHEAP AS CHIPS: 6 Bundy houses under $199,000

Cheap houses being sold in the region