Nine coal mines accused of breaching environmental rules

A total of nine coal mines in Central Queensland have been accused of breaching environmental conditions after dumping affected water into rivers this year.

The Observer reports that the mine were inundated by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald which delivered flooding rains across much of the region in January.

New figures brings the total of ‘non-compliant’ mine water releases since 2010 to 86, with each found to have pumped water into the Fitzroy Catchment.

Of the nine coal mines, two were found to have broken the rules by the Department of Environment.

Rio Tinto’s Hail Creek mine was given a $2800 fine, while the Sojitz Minerva got away with just a warning.

Peabody has three mines on the list: Middlemount, Coppabella and North Goonyella.

Rio Tinto’s Kestral mine, and Yancoal’s Yarabee are also included on the list.

Anglo American also has two mines accused of breaking its water release rules. German Creek and Callide reportedly both released water for 22 days straight.

The list only covers mines that released water in breach of environmental protocols.

The opposition is now demanding an independent assessment of the mine water release.

Water quality results will not be known until later this week but Opposition environment spokeswoman Jackie Trad said it showed these discharges were not "planned, executed or monitored properly" by the government.

Trad said new laws introduced late last year lowered environmental standards.

Department of Environment Deputy Director-General Dean Ellwood said the mines were under investigation for a number of reasons, including failure to notify the government soon enough after releasing the water, and cases of water being pumped from mines into streams flowing too slow to be allowed.

Powell said the combined impact of the mine discharges were ‘heavily monitored’ and was confident that they were within appropriate levels.

Image: ABC

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