A dragline at Ensham Mine went under in February’s floods, but mines are now working to protect the quality of the Fitzroy catchment.
A dragline at Ensham Mine went under in February’s floods, but mines are now working to protect the quality of the Fitzroy catchment. File

Govt gives CQ mines tick

WHILE environmental charges have been laid against two North Queensland mining companies for water management practices, the government has given CQ mines the tick of approval.

Last week charges were laid against two mining companies in north-west Queensland for environmental harm relating to water management.

The Queensland Government said last year it had worked closely with coalmine operators in the Fitzroy River Basin to introduce new waste water discharge management and monitoring requirements to ensure the future protection of the region’s water quality.

“All coalmines in the Fitzroy River Basin have since voluntarily agreed to implement changes in water discharge management practises,” Department of Environment and Resource Management assistant director-general Dean Ellwood said.

“The environmental licences for 42 coalmines in the basin have now been updated to ensure waste water management conditions are consistent across the region and will provide ongoing protection of downstream environmental values and water uses.

“While charges were recently laid against mining companies for alleged non-compliances in north-west Queensland associated with flooding events in 2009, such approach was not needed for the Fitzroy Basin because of the co-operative approach taken by the coalmining sector.”

Last week acting Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Andrew Fraser said MMG Century Limited, north-west of Mt Isa, had been charged with causing serious environmental harm by discharging contaminated wastewater into waterways during the heavy wet season earlier in the year.

He said Birla Mt Gordon Pty Ltd had also been charged over water issues such as continuing to store excessive amounts of contaminated water onsite.

“These charges are a stern reminder to the mining industry that disregarding environmental obligations is not acceptable,” Mr Fraser said.

Mr Fraser said that as the next wet season approaches, this was a timely reminder to all mining companies to be prepared or face hefty fines. The maximum penalty for this offence is $1.5 million.

Mr Fraser said these were not the only two mines being investigated by DERM.



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