Environmental fears for Xstrata coal terminal

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A community group says plans to dredge central Queensland’s Fitzroy River delta to make way for a new coal terminal places the local environment at risk.

Xstrata Coal is currently preparing an environmental impact statement for its plans to build a terminal on Balaclava Island south of Rockhampton in QLD.

Dredging will be required to allow bulk carriers access to the 35 million tonne per annum development.

But according to the Financial Review, the Keppel and Fitzroy Delta Alliance said the dredging plans were “way too risky”.

The group said it feared the developments could produce environmental damage comparable to that done at Gladstone Harbour.

KAFDA member Kim Martin told the Financial Review plans to dump the dredging sediment out to sea could go wrong.

“The plan, apparently, is to dredge the entrance for the bulk carriers, and deposit the spoil a bit further out to sea in the southern part of Keppel Bay,” he said.

“How can we be sure that the south-north current in the bay will not just spread it all across Keppel Bay and the beaches of the Capricorn Coast? This would be totally unacceptable.”

But Xstrata Coal said water quality for the Balaclava project would be closely monitored, along with air quality and ambient noise.

It said the company followed a strict environment management system that had been cross-checked with the Minerals Council of Australia.

Xstrata said it welcomed community feedback and comment on its Balaclava environmental impact statement.

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