Palmer submits Galilee mining lease application

CLIVE Palmer’s Waratah Coal company has submitted an Environment Authority and Mining Lease application for its Galilee Coal project in Queensland.
Palmer submits Galilee mining lease application Palmer submits Galilee mining lease application Palmer submits Galilee mining lease application Palmer submits Galilee mining lease application Palmer submits Galilee mining lease application

Clive Palmer.

The mine project - which was once called the China First project - has been on ice since being approved by the federal government in 2013 as Palmer pursued his political career.

Waratah Coal plans to mine a total of 40 million tonnes per annum of coal from two open-cut pits and four underground mines.

It also hopes to build a 453km railway linking the project to the Abbot Point coal terminal on the coast.

The company also needs federal environmental approval for its proposed Alpha North coalmine in the Galilee Basin.

Local farmers are opposing the mine, saying it would destroy a local nature refuge and drain scarce supplies of groundwater. 

The Bimblebox nature refuge is a habitat in the Eastern Desert uplands and lies in the middle of the mining proposal. 

Local landowner and nature refuge co-owner Paola Cassoni said if it went ahead the Galilee Coal Project would destroy grazing land and the Bimblebox nature refuge.

The first of 26 boreholes was sunk on the Bimblebox Nature Reserve in 2008.

She said local landowners locked their gates and stopped the extra 100 boreholes.

"We have submitted to the environmental impact statement and voiced our concerns throughout the EIS process," she said.

"But by making an objection to the land court Waratah's assertions about the impacts of the mine can finally be put to the test.

"We have been in drought out here for more than three years. Our groundwater is all we have to depend on. We have no choice but to use all options open to us to protect this important pocket of country."

A recent Supreme Court of Queensland decision has thrown into doubt the consideration of groundwater during the grant of an environmental authority and in any subsequent Land Court processes.

Graziers are calling on the government to amend legislation to confirm the impacts of mining on groundwater will be properly considered at all stages of the assessment and approvals process, including for the Galilee Coal Project. 

Lock the Gate Queensland spokeswoman Ellie Smith said: "It seems ludicrous that impacts on groundwater can suddenly be taken out of consideration mid-way through the assessment process for the Galilee Coal project".