Xstrata denies big environmental damage at Surat Basin coal mine

Xstrata has denied its proposed coal mine in the Surat Basin will have big negative impacts on greenhouse gas emissions.

The mining company is in court to defend the action by environmental group Friends of the Earth who want the Wandoan coal mine, which could be the largest in Australia, stopped.

The group says the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the mine, which would be about the size of England, would be devastating to the environment.

Xstrata’s James Rickard has rejected the accusations and says an environmental impact study (EIS) shows a relatively small amount of damage to the environment.

"In year 24 of the operation of the mine, the annual greenhouse gas emission created during the mining and the production of that operation will peak at about 653,000 tonnes of CO2," he said.

"That would represent about 0.08 per cent of the Australian total, because in that same year Australia will be producing 550 million tonnes per annum.

Friends of the Earth says it will use science to prove the impacts of the Queensland mine will be bigger than that and it is looking forward to the court case, to be held in August following preliminary hearings yesterday.

"The weighing up of facts in this particular case by the independent judiciary I think is what we’re really looking forward to," Spokesman John Mackenzie told the ABC.

"This is an opportunity for some of the best scientists that we have to make their cases about the direct relationship between this coal mine and the impacts on the Great Barrier Reef and the impacts on extreme weather events.’

Image: Safe Communities

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