Queensland mines were not ready for floods

As Queensland once again prepares to face torrential rain this week, a new report suggests the state’s mines were ill-equipped for previous flood events.

As Queensland once again prepares to face torrential rain this week, a new report suggests the state’s mines were ill-equipped for previous flood events.

The report states that mines were not prepared for flooding in 2008, 2010 and 2010 that resulted in pits being inundated.

The Daily Mercury reported that industry sources stated about 250,000 mega litres of water is stagnating in Bowen Basin mines west of Mackay and Rockhampton.

The battering those mines and ports received from the weather of past wet seasons is estimated to have cost Queensland up to $5 billion in lost revenue.

Researchers from the University of Queensland, led by Dr Vigya Sharma, found the industry was unprepared for the onslaught of rains after years of dry conditions.

The researchers also attributed the mines lack of preparation to little shared knowledge inside mining companies due to high staff turnover.

The report stated that available climate data was both was inadequate and inaccurate for sites to plan properly.

Sharma’s team went on to suggest the community was nervous about the water being expelled from the mines.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche told APN the research was "on the same page" as the Floods Commission of Inquiry.

He said in dryer times, mines had developed systems to collect and store water, which has worked against them during times of flood.

But Roche added that lessons had been learned from Emerald's flooding in 2008, and from the 2010-11 floods that "emptied some 38 million megalitres of water into the ocean".

Of which he estimated 0.5 per cent, or 200,000 megalitres, came from mines.

"Every government, industry and business in Queensland has learned some hard lessons from the floods and resources sector companies are certainly better prepared," he said.

A spokeswoman for Anglo American said walls had now been constructed to keep pits from flooding.

Post-flood reconstruction also included the addition of pumps, piping, road upgrades, bridges and crossings, along with a $25 million dam to store mine water.

Xstrata's spokesman said he knew of the report and the company was responding appropriately to ensure mines were waterproof during the wet and dry seasons.

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