Flood-protecting Peak Downs

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance is navigating through green tape to help protect its flagship Peak Downs mine in the Bowen Basin from future central Queensland flooding disasters.
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The planned area for the 7 North Dam extension project at Peak Downs. Map courtesy of BHP.

Blair Price

BHP recently submitted the Peak Downs 7 North Dam extension project application to the federal government for approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.

“Several wet seasons of above-average rainfall have resulted in well-publicised challenges for the coal mining industry in the Bowen Basin,” BHP said.

BMA has consequently developed a water management strategy to store mine-affected water so it can be adequately monitored and managed before being discharged.

The plans to widen the existing 7 North Dam will take up an extra 166.74 hectares and the first and second stages of construction are flagged to start in June.

Commissioning of the two stages of development is expected by November, while the last stage of construction is expected to take place between May and October of 2013.

The existing footprint of the dam has a 2.6 gigalitre capacity but stage 2 of the project is expected to provide an additional 5.6GL while stage 3 is targeting a further 4.9GL of capacity.

BHP discussed the extreme rain events of past years, including the 1-in-50 year rain event in 2008, the even greater annual rainfall the following year and the whopping 1350mm of rain clocked up in 2010.

The premium hard coking coal from Peak Downs typically set global benchmark prices before the disastrous flooding caused by the previous wet season starting in late 2010.

BMA is a 50:50 joint venture between BHP and Mitsubishi Development.