Lock the Gate Alliance's mining reform manager, Rick Humphries.
Lock the Gate Alliance's mining reform manager, Rick Humphries. Contributed

Lock the Gate Alliance slams Olive Downs recommendation

LOCK the Gate Alliance has slammed a recommendation by the Queensland Coordinator-General to allow the the Olive Downs metallurgical coal mine project to leave three un-rehabilitated pit voids on the Isaac River flood plain after the mine closes.

The organisation said the decision was completely at odds with the mine rehabilitation reforms passed by the State Government last year.

"The decision to let Olive Downs leave three un-rehabilitated pit voids on the Isaac River floodplain is a ticking time bomb that represents a real long-term threat to the river and downstream users” mine rehabilitation coordinator with Lock the Gate Alliance, Rick Humphries, said.

"It completely undermines a key element of the Queensland Government rehabilitation reforms which promised to stop mining giants leaving behind contaminated hypersaline pit lakes on floodplains because the environmental risks to our precious rivers are too great.

"We're incredibly disappointed that the Queensland Government has failed the first crucial test of its new mine rehabilitation laws.

"The Coordinator General had the option to require the Olive Downs project to fully protect the floodplain by requiring the pits were backfilled.

"Instead the Coordinator General has backed the company against the interests of the Queensland taxpayers who will bear the long-term environmental cost.

"Mining companies must bear the full cost of rehabilitation, not the taxpayer.

"We're calling for the Queensland Government to urgently reconsider this decision, and to require the Olive Downs mine to fully backfill and rehabilitate all pit voids consistent with the new rehabilitation policy.”

According to a spokesperson for the Queensland Coordinator-General, the Environmental Authority application for the project was submitted prior to the commencement of the new rehabilitation legal provisions.

Under the law, it was required to be assessed under the transitional arrangements.

"In addition, all impacts were comprehensively identified and assessed objectively on their merits and stringent conditions were set to ensure the final land use is stable, safe and non-polluting,” the spokesperson said.

Pembroke Resources declined to comment.