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Mine's non-compliant discharge into Fitzroy shows 'system works'

Haul trucks at BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance's new Daunia mine in Central Queensland.  PIC: OWEN JACQUES
Haul trucks at BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance's new Daunia mine in Central Queensland. PIC: OWEN JACQUES

THE Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has defended the release of mine-affected water into the Fitzroy Basin following criticism from Bill Byrne MP.

The Rockhampton Member expressed his "philosophical opposition" to the practice as BHP's Daunia mine was deemed not compliant after it started release on March 28.

It has since been listed as compliant on the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) website, along with all seven other Central Queensland mines currently releasing.

READ: MP attacks CQ mines for Fitzroy water discharges

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane hit back at Mr Byrne's comments, and stressed mines operate under "strict environmental water release conditions".

"These conditions are based on science and have involved detailed assessment by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection," Mr Macfarlane said.

"The fact that only a portion of mines are releasing shows that the conditions have been appropriately customised for the Fitzroy catchment and companies are focused on getting their mines fully operational as soon as possible."

Mr Macfarlane stressed sewage treatment plants were another industrial body which released into the Ftizroy.

"Experience from previous floods means companies have invested substantially in water management, making them far more resilient to cope with heavy rainfall," he said.

"The fact that one mine site has reported that its release is non-compliant, and it is important to recognise that this information is available to the public, is a positive, and shows that the system works."

The EHP said they are continuing to monitor coal mines and associated sites in the wake of ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

Mines are authorised to release water under specific conditions of their environmental authority (EA).

The EHP said they review all mine water releases to determine whether compliance action is required.

"In the event of major rainfall and flooding, mines and associated sites can apply to EHP for a temporary emissions licence," the EHP state.

"This is a permit that temporarily relaxes or modifies EA conditions in response to a major event such as a flood or bushfire."

Topics:  bill byrne environment fitzroy basin queensland resources council


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