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Billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer says the benefits of his $8 billion Waratah Coal project in Queensland far outweigh concerns raised by green groups.
Speaking at a function last night Palmer said no government would oppose the development based on the mine’s impact on the Bimblebox Nature Refuge.
The project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin near Alpha is slated to turn 52 percent of the refuge into an open-cut mine and is opposed by the Greens and other environmental groups.
According to the ABC Palmer said while the environment needed to be respected the economic benefit of the Waratah project could not be ignored.
“I think it’s in the overall benefit of the people that live here and their futures that we proceed,” he said.
“When you look at the area of land out at Alpha and how big the mines will be, it’s minuscule compared to the economic benefit they can bring.”
Central Queensland wildlife carer Lyn Laskus told the ABC after the speech she confronted Palmer over the issue.
“I said that hundred of thousands of native wildlife will be killed and he said that people were more important than animals,” she said.
She said she was “stunned” at Palmer’s response.
Earlier this year an endangered bird species was discovered in the mine’s proposed area.
Following the discovery Greens Senator Larissa Walters called on the Federal Government to scrap the development.
The Waratah Coal project plans to export 40 million tonnes of coal annually, earning around $4.6 billion a year.
It would also rake in an extra $1 billion of revenue for the Queensland and Federal Governments.