GVK Hancock groundwater studies under fire

GVK Hancock insists that its groundwater assessments for the proposed Kevin’s Corner coal mine were comprehensive and have provided a clear understanding surrounding groundwater aquifers and bores.

Concerns about risks to groundwater have come to a head with central Queensland grazier Bruce Currie joining a legal challenge brought by conservation groups against the $4.2 billion project.

‘To date we’ve been given no security at all that our groundwater supplies won’t be destroyed by the impact of those mines,” Currie told the ABC outside the Land Court in Brisbane.

Currie brought an objection to the GVK Hancock Alpha mine in 2013, which is still the subject of legal action.

The grazier said that the Kevin’s Corner mine would be located on the eastern boundary of his property.

“If we lose our water we lose our livelihood,” Currie said.

“We draw our water out of what they call the Clematis Sandstone, and that is part of the feed into the Great Artesian Basin, so I’m not only concerned for our property, but if their predictive modelling impact drawdown contours are wrong, what does that mean for other primary producers as well in the area?”

Coast and Country Association of Queensland barrister Chris McGrath said GVK Hancock had given an “impossible explanation” of groundwater in the area.

"The impacts on groundwater in the area are likely to be far greater than they suggest," he said.

GVK Hancock responded yesterday, saying they had invested “tens of millions of dollars on a comprehensive suite of environmental assessments”.

“Our assessments included a comprehensive hydrogeological assessment, which involved detailed modelling of the underlying geology, an evaluation of groundwater and aquifer occurrences and an assessment of local and regional groundwater resources,” the company said in a media statement.

The statement assured that GVK Hancock had successfully negotiated ‘Make Good Agreements’ with nearby landholders, which would hold the company liable in the event of “unduly impacting groundwater resources on their given property”.

“We pay for all legal costs incurred by landowners in the preparation and review of any Make Good Agreement, including for any required hydrological assessments.”

“We are certainly prepared and willing to enter into ‘Make Good Agreements’ with properties in the broader area, however we have finalised the property acquisition process for our mines and currently have no business need to purchase any further properties in the area.”

The next hearing with GVK Hancock and Bruce Currie will be held in two weeks.

Image: Courier Mail

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