New Abbot Point dredging plan to dump waste on land seeks Australian government approval
The controversial coal mine developments in the Queensland Galilee Basin have made news headlines for the past 18 months. With thousands of mining jobs hanging in the balance, new coal mine developments have faced a lot of hurdles of late.
The development of massive coal mines in Queensland have faced many challenges, including vast distances between the proposed mines and the ship loading facilities at Abbot Point, close to Bowen on the North East coast of Queensland.
Development of several coal mines in Queensland
Many factors are at play in the successful development of several mines in the region and, in particular, coal mining is facing tough challenges. As with any mine development, there are environmental impact studies that must be carried out to determine the effect on the natural surroundings as deep holes are sunk into the earth.
“300 kilometres of rail line”
In particular, the Galilee Basin has a myriad of obstacles to negotiate in terms of the impact on the local environment. Not just at the mine site, but along the entire route from ‘pit to port’. Over 300 kilometres of rail line is being proposed as well as the deepening of the coastal facility at Abbot Point.
“dredge the port then dump the fill out at sea”
Dredging so close to the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park has caused an uproar across the globe. This was one of the major sticking points that has plagued the development of the Galilee Basin coal mines. Original plans were to dredge the area then dump the fill out at sea, which had the potential to cause irreparable damage to the Barrier Reef.
Mining operations in the Galilee Basin have already received government approval to commence, with Indian power and energy companies Adani and GVK making plans to begin preliminary mining by the end of the year if not by the beginning of 2015.
“Adani and GVK Hancock had already received the go-ahead”
North Queensland Bulk Ports, Adani and GVK Hancock had already received the go-ahead to dump three million cubic metres of dredged material within the boundary of the marine park. It would seem these companies have now thought about this process and are considering other options.
Government unveils new plan for Abbot Point dredging issues
Keen to fast-track the development of the Queensland mining industry once again, the Australian government has unveiled a new plan to solve the issue of dumping the dredged materials out at sea.
The plan hinges on dumping the dredged slurry on land instead of within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park . . . . sounds simple enough. We have to wonder why this was not the most logical plan in the first instance?
“World Wildlife Fund welcome the dredged material being used as landfill”
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said he would do what he could for the plan to be approved and to appease the many opponents to the dredging. A spokesman for WWF said he would welcome the dredged material being used as landfill, although he went on to say there are strict guidelines to be adhered to when land dumping marine spoil.
“come up with the right solution”
Adding to the decision by Mr Seeny to push the approval for land based disposal through parliament, green groups are concerned the approval process should take more time owing to the time frames required to come up with the right solution to maximise the effects of land based seabed ‘fill’ being dumped on coastal wetland areas.
Abbot Point Galilee Basin mining news
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The Galilee Basin projects could bring thousands of permanent mining jobs to Queenslanders and provide a much-needed boost to local communities in the region.
Learn more about the Bowen Basin mining location.
The Bowen Basin contains the largest coal reserves in Australia. This major coal producing region contains one of the worldâ€™s largest deposits of bituminous coal.
The Basin contains much of the known Permian coal resources in Queensland including virtually all of the known mineable prime coking coal. It was named for the Bowen River, itself named after Queenslandâ€™s first Governor, Sir George Bowen.
The Bowen Basin covers an area of over 60,000 square kilometres in Central Queensland running from Collinsville to Theodore and is dotted with many coal mines operated by multiple mining companies.
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