CLIVE Palmer’s $8.3 billion Waratah Coal project in the Galilee Basin would completely destroy an 8000-hectare nature reserve near Alpha.
More details of the project are now available with the release this week of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The company wants to develop a series of new thermal coal mines near Alpha plus associated water and power supply infrastructure and build a 468-kilometre rail line to Abbot Point.
The project would generate 6000 jobs during construction and 1500 jobs during its 25 year operational life.
Production is projected to be 40 million tonnes of thermal coal for export per year.
But the project would completely destroy the state and federally protected Bimblebox Nature Refuge.
According to the EIS, 52 per cent - or 4000 hectares - of Bimblebox would be cleared for the mine.
The other 48 per cent of the reserve would host underground mining operations which could cause subsidence and effect vegetation.
Waratah says the impact would be unavoidable, if the project goes ahead.
“As such it is proposed that offsets be established to compensate for unavoidable impacts,” the EIS reads.
The Bimblebox is expected to become the key battleground for opponents of the projects.
Back in June, when Clive Palmer was trying to float his company Resourcehorse on the Hong Kong stock exchange, Friends of the Earth sent details of the Bimblebox Nature Refuge to investors.
“Chinese investors will understandably be concerned to know that Mr Palmer’s proposed China First mine is home to several endangered species including our national emblem the koala and the black-throated finch and the squatter pigeon,” spokesman Drew Hutton said at the time.
The Rockhampton-based Capricorn Conservation Council Michael McCabe said the refuge was recognised 10 years ago by both the federal and state governments as an excellent example of uncleared woodland.
“Parts of this EIS are bizarre,” he said.
“We need answers from government on how they are protecting the environment from mining.”
Another concern with the project, and others like it in the region, is the number of rail lines being proposed and their impacts on farming and grazing land.
The Coordinator General Keith Davies said the final configuration should have minimal impact on the existing community.
“I have visited the region and met with the community; the matters and issues raised at these meetings will be taken into account, along with formal submissions,” he said.
“Other proponents are also considering similar infrastructure. We would consider favourably a proposal for a joint rail corridor if this were possible.”
The EIS is available to view online at www.waratahcoal.com under the publications tab and will be on public display at the following venues:
SEWPaC Central Library, Ground Floor, John Barton Building, King Edward Terrace, Parkes, Canberra, ACT
State Library of Queensland, Cultural Centre, Stanley Place, South Bank, Brisbane, QLD
Whitsunday Regional Council, Customer Service Centre-Bowen Office, 67 Herbert Street, Bowen, QLD
Barcaldine Regional Council-Alpha Office, 43 Dryden Street, Alpha, QLD
Isaac Regional Council-Moranbah Office, Grosvenor Complex, Batchelor Parade, Moranbah, QLD.
A free copy on DVD can also be ordered, or a printed copy can be purchased by telephoning Waratah on 07 3233 0800 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
All public submissions must be in writing and received by the Coordinator-General by 5pm on November 7, 2011.