The Queensland Department of Environment and Science has knocked back Mineralogy’s proposed Central Queensland coal project near the Great Barrier Reef.
The project was deemed unacceptable on the grounds that its environmental risks would exceed its economic benefits.
The proposal involves a greenfield, open-cut coal mine which would extract up to 10 million tonnes per year of thermal and coking coal, 130 kilometres northwest of Rockhampton.
After assessing the amended environmental impact statement (EIS) from Mineralogy, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) concluded that “the project presents a number of unacceptable risks that cannot be adequately managed or avoided.”
The project was planned to be a joint venture between Palmer-founded Mineralogy subsidiaries Central Queensland Coal and Fairway Coal.
As the mine was set to be 10 kilometres from the border of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area, the DES deemed there would be risks related to water management and local ecology.
The DES acknowledged the many attempts the project had made to mitigate the risks involved, as this was the third amendment to the project’s original EIS.
“The proponent has made a significant number of changes to their proposed mine plan, proposed additional mitigation and avoidance measures, developed a revised monitoring network, provided for additional offset proposals, and a range of other commitments, including adopting an adaptive management approach,” the DES stated in the EIS assessment report.
However, on top of hazardous ecological risks, the report recognised risks associated with land rehabilitation, cultural heritage and transport.
The DES stated that its rejection was “due primarily to the location of the project, but also in part to the lack of effective mitigation measures proposed in the EIS.”
The mine was set to create an estimated 222 construction jobs over the 24-year mine life and contribute more than $7.8 billion for the Queensland economy.