Peter Holt

Call to consider environmental impact of mega-mine

A FORMER Queensland Government environmental officer turned activist is calling on the state to put at least three mega coal mines on hold until more research is done on the risks they pose.

For Tom Crothers, the total impact caused by three projects being developed by GVK Hancock and Clive Palmer's Waratah Coal must be considered before any can go ahead.

"These are pretty scarce (water) resources," he said.

"What is the cumulative impact of these mines?"

Mr Crothers is now involved with the Sunrise Project, which supports environmental causes.

His claims follow a Land Court ruling which found GVK Hancock's flagship project - the $6.4 billion Alpha coal mine - should face more conditions if it is to go ahead.

GVK Hancock, which is backed by Gina Rinehart's Hancock Coal and Indian powerhouse GVK, is also pushing ahead with its equally enormous Kevin's Corner coal mine.

Alpha, Kevin's Corner and Waratah's Galilee coal mine are all to be developed in the Galilee Basin west of Gladstone and Rockhampton.

A rail line would link the mines to the Abbot Point Coal Terminal about 500km away.

GVK Hancock's Alpha was challenged by landholders and activists on climate change, public interest, land use, underground water supplies and greenhouse gas emissions.

The court found conditions ought to be imposed to ensure groundwater concerns from landholders were addressed.

A spokesman for the mine developer said the conditions showed GVK Hancock's environmental work "addressed all the objections raised with no requirement for further conditions apart from groundwater".

Despite not being legally bound to follow the court's ruling, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the government would now consider its findings.

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