Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island
Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island

Island protector to fight them on the beaches

FRASER Island conservation legend John Sinclair is spearheading a fight against a coal mine he says will poison the waters off the World Heritage island frequented by humpback whales, dugongs, dolphins and turtles.

Mr Sinclair and the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation say the proposed Colton coal mine will be pumping toxic water into the Mary River then the Great Sandy Strait and potentially Hervey Bay, home of the whale watching industry - all for a small mine its owner New Hope says will create 100 jobs.

The group has assembled a $30,000 fund to pay for research it will present to the Federal Government in a bid to get it to re-examine the project.


"Highly toxic water will be deposited in Great Sandy Strait," Mr Sinclair said. "It will end up in Hervey Bay when there is a lot of water."

But miner New Hope says the Colton coal mine proposal has met all environmental requirements and is on a parcel of land that has been mined for more than 100 years.

"The mine proposes to employ about 100 Fraser Coast area residents, and source some $20 million in goods and services from regional businesses each year," a New Hope spokeswoman said. "A similar workforce would be required during construction.

"The size of the mine footprint and scale of operations has not changed since the very first proposal was put out for public scrutiny in August 2010.

"Final government approvals were secured on November 17 2016, the Land Court of Queensland endorsed the final Environmental Management Plan and Conditions of Approval. Claims that Fraser Island and Great Sandy Straits will suffer are unsound.

"The mine will be an excavation in which excess rainwater and groundwater will be compulsorily pumped into holding dams, checked for safety and be discharged only once verified as safe for discharge."

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