Green group challenges Xstrata mine

Green group challenges Xstrata mine

A green lobby group is taking legal action against mining giant Xstrata Coal over its plans to extend a central Queensland coal mine.

The Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) lodged objections to the expansion of Xstrata-owned Newlands coal mine in the Land and Resources Tribunal in Brisbane on Monday.

An unincorporated joint venture of Xstrata Coal Queensland Pty Ltd, Itochu Coal Resources Australia Pty Ltd, ICRA NCA Pty Limited and Sumisho Coal Australia Pty Limited has proposed to extend the existing Newlands coal project at Suttor Creek, around 130km west of Mackay.

Although the lease has been granted, surface rights over an expanded area of 777ha located on the Wollombi pastoral lease and a reserve for quarrying are required.

The land is currently used for low intensity beef cattle grazing.

QCC acting coordinator Nigel Parratt said the group’s objections related to the significant greenhouse gas emissions that would be released into the atmosphere as a result of extraction, transportation and use of new coal from the mine.

He said emissions pumped out during the expanded mine’s 15-year lifespan would be equivalent to around 15 per cent of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

“Basically we’re objecting to the impacts on climate change of this product with no mitigation process put in place,” Mr Parratt said.

“We’re arguing given that coal is a recognised contributor to greenhouse gases and climate change issues, the company – rather than just being given open slather to extend their coal mining activities – should be offsetting those greenhouse gas emissions through carbon sinks or long term investment in renewable technologies.”

Mr Parratt said there was no process in place for such companies to mitigate greenhouse gases and Xstrata should take on a “high degree of corporate responsibility” and regulate itself.

“We’re certainly not advocating within this objection that the expansion of the Newlands Xstrata mine stop, but what they need to take on board is to start mitigating the impacts of their product on global greenhouse gas emissions and therefore global climate change,” he said.

An Xstrata Coal spokesman said the impact on the environment had been thoroughly tested.

“Xstrata Coal has an absolute commitment to the development and testing of zero emission and greenhouse gas abatement technologies,” he said in a statement.

“We have committed millions of dollars to help fund projects across Australia to develop clean coal technologies and take our responsibility for the environment extremely seriously.

“We have acted in total compliance with all legal and environmental requirements.”
Source:By Roberta Mancuso

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