Queensland port

The Australian Maritime Conservation Society (AMCS) has outlined the ‘disastrous impact’ the proposed Central Queensland Coal mine (CQC) could have on the Great Barrier Reef if approved.

The Marine Values Report conducted by AMCS shows fine sediment from the mine, which is planned for an area only 10km from the Reef World Heritage Area, could be carried by currents and tides to critical breeding and feeding areas of threatened dugongs and turtles.

The CQC was first proposed by mining billionaire and federal politician, Clive Palmer.

In April 2021, the project was deemed ‘not suitable to proceed’ by the Queensland Government and sat with former federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley for a decision to approve or reject under Australia’s environmental laws for more than a year.

AMCS urges new Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, to take heed of the science-backed warnings in this new report and finally reject the mine.

AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaigner, Cherry Muddle, said the report evidences the untenable environmental and climate impact of such a project.

“Our report shows there is too much at risk to allow CQC to build and operate an open cut coal mine so close to the Reef World Heritage Area. Federal Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek, must reject the mine on environmental and climate grounds,” Ms Muddle said.

“Broad Sound, just downstream from the proposed mine site, is an area rich in marine life, including species important for commercial and rec fishing like barramundi and mud crabs. Habitats like mangroves and seagrass are found there or nearby – these are key habitats for marine wildlife and important carbon sinks.

“Our report shows the tides and currents of Broad Sound could carry fine sediment released from the mine to these important habitats, smothering them, risking impacts on the protected migratory species that rely on them, like dugongs or flatback turtles.”

The AMCS report follows on from published research which showed that small particles released near the mine could be carried by strong tides and currents to reach and settle on dense seagrass meadows in Clairview dugong sanctuary and sea turtle nesting beaches at Avoid Island within a few weeks of being released.

The Queensland Government’s EIS assessment released in late April 2021 concluded the mine was ‘not suitable to proceed’ due to ‘unacceptable risks’ to the Great Barrier Reef.

Expert scientists appointed by the Federal Government warned in early 2021 the mine threatened to cause “significant and irreversible impacts” to the Reef.

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