A STORM is brewing over billionaire Clive Palmer's planned super-mine for the Galilee Basin west of Rockhampton, as the State is forced to choose between a nature reserve and $3 billion in projected royalties.
Mr Palmer's Waratah Coal released new information for public comment this week as its $6.5 billion China First went through the State's Co-ordinator-General's office in pursuit of approval.
The supplementary environmental impact statement stated Waratah would need to mine part of the adjoining 8000-hectare Bimblebox Nature Reserve, or the project could be at risk.
"For the Galilee Coal Project, the reserves beneath the Bimblebox Nature Reserve are critical and the most cost-effective of all reserves," the report stated.
The report warned a ban on mining the protected area would cut its coal production by 40% over the life of the mine "which makes cost recovery to build the rail, mine and port infrastructure unlikely".
According to Waratah, it would also cost the Queensland Government royalties of almost $3 billion spanning its 30-year life.
If the refuge's protection puts the entire project at risk, it could cost the national economy $85 billion over the same period.
The National Parks Association of Queensland said the State had to protect the land.Executive co-ordinator Paul Donatiu said the area was bought with funding from individuals and the Federal Government to protect it from clearing.
"It is managed for its rich biodiversity values and as a working example of integrated production and conservation," he said.
Resources exploration and mining can go ahead in nature refuges if given Queensland Government approval.
Mr Palmer and Waratah Coal declined to discuss the latest changes to its environmental impact statement while it was open for consultation.
It remains up for public discussion and comment until May 6.
Submissions can be made at dsdip.qld.gov.au.
CHINA FIRST BY NUMBERS:
- 20 - Number of apprentices hired by the mine each year.
- 18.6 - The number in thousands of trucks needed during construction of the site.
- 93 - The number in thousands of trucks needed for its first 25 years of operation.
- 4500 - Peak staff figures when construction and operation staff overlap.
- 95 - Percentage of staff to be accommodated on site.
- 1.4 - The billions of tonnes of coal Waratah hopes to mine over 30 years.
- 500 - The billions of tonnes worth of coal in the Galilee Basin.