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The Carmichael Mine-strosity

The Carmichael coal mine by India's Adani Group would be Australia's largest coal mine, producing 60 million tonnes of coal per year during its 90 year lifespan.

Global environmental impacts: The mine would have a maximum production capacity of 60 mtpa. This amount of coal, when burnt for electricity generation, would produce 128.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, greater than the 2009 carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion in Sweden, Norway and Denmark combined.

Environmental impacts: The Carmichael project's 40 km long open-cut mine would destroy approximately 10,000 ha of land including most of the Bygana West Nature Refuge (approximately 1,100 ha) – a highly diverse area supporting two endangered regional woodland ecosystems and containing habitat suitable for a variety of animals including koalas.

Thanks to our friends at Greenpeace for their research and ongoing activism on this issue.
  • This mine will have unacceptable impacts on nationally threatened species and on regional supplies of groundwater and surface water.
  • There are two nationally threatened species, the plant Eryngium fontanum and the Black-throated finch (southern) for which this mine will remove or damage habitat "critical to their survival."
  • The proponent proposes to clear nearly 10,000 ha of what is likely to be deemed habitat critical to the survival of the Black-throated finch (southern).
  • The impact of the groundwater draw down from this mine on the endangered plant, Eryngium fontanum, is not assessed at all despite the nearby Doongmabulla Springs being critical to its survival.
  • The Environmental Impact Statement for the project has not fulfilled its terms of reference for the following nationally threatened species and communities: Koala, Waxy cabbage palm, two endangered plants, Eryngium fontanum and Eriocaulon carsonii, and the endangered ecological community, the community of native species dependent on natural discharge of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin.
  • There is no assessment of the impact of the mine and its consequential impacts on the nationally vulnerable Waxy cabbage palm, including intensification of flooding of the riparian zone caused by the proposed levy banks on the Carmichael River, and of the impact of the dramatic 30m draw down of groundwater expected in the 60th year of the mine's operation.
  • There is no assessment of the impact of the dramatic levels of drawdown of groundwater expected for this mine on groundwater-dependent species in the surrounding area.
  • There is no adequate assessment of cumulative impacts of the project on three key threatened fauna species, Black-throated finch (southern), Squatter pigeon and Koala, particularly with reference to groundwater and extensive clearing for this and other mines in the Galilee Basin.
  • At its greatest extent of operations and development, after approximately 60 years (of a ninety year mine life), drawdowns of up to between 30 to 60 m have been predicted for the groundwater table in the vicinity of the Carmichael River.
  • The proponent does not seem certain about how much water this mine will use, and there are contradictions in the EIS on this question, ranging from 4 to 25GL harvested from flood water, groundwater and the Belyando River. The EIS needs to clarify how much water it will draw from the various sources identified and what impact this will have downstream and on groundwater.
  • As the proponent proposes to fulfil their water needs from ground and surface water harvesting, there needs to be a closer examination of the impact this will have at the subcatchment level. The overview of water use in the Belyando/Suttor catchment is too coarse to understand the impact of the mine on water resources, and more detailed work on the water use and impacts on the Carmichael and Belyando Floodplain subcatchments is needed before the public can accurately understand how this mine will impact on the region.


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Until Monday 11th February the public can make submissions to the government assessment of the Carmichael mega-coal mine in Northern Queensland.

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