Resource Industry Network general manager Adrienne Rourke.
Resource Industry Network general manager Adrienne Rourke. Emma Murray

The mining industry is a miserly user of water

WHO in their right mind thinks a mine that hasn't been constructed yet is causing the drought?

Who in their right mind thinks that after 50 years of coal mining, government and industry are incapable of managing bores?

An anti-mining group that is spending tax deductible donations on a misleading campaign linking a proposed mining project to the existing drought conditions has received far too much air time this week. Where is the evidence?

This is a complex issue and not one that can be captured in a single letter to the editor, advertisement or social media meme. I strongly encourage people to seek out information and know the facts.

A good starting point for this would be to read the state and federal legislation associated with water, which states all mining projects must have a water licence, abide by the government regulation associated with that licence, and monitor and continually report to the government their activities.

If you have questions around the Carmichael project, Adani has a six-page mine water fact sheet that provides significant information about howthe Carmichael Mine is strictly regulated to ensure it uses water safely and responsibly.

In short, the mining industry is a miserly user of water.

The ABS reports an annual four per cent share of national consumption. In Qld, most state-regulated water is allocated to agriculture.

In 2015-16, led by sugar cane and cotton growing, agriculture used 62 per cent of water consumed in Qld.

Coal mining and other extractive industries often use or encounter groundwater.

Groundwater used for production is called non-associated water.

Groundwater encountered indirectly through circumstances such as ingress from an exposed coal seam is called associated water.

When mines interfere with or take associated water, they are obliged under the Water Act to: Complete baseline assessments of local water bores; prepare baseline assessment plans; prepare underground water impact reports; enter into make good agreements with landholders, where required; and report to the government on the volume of associated water taken

In April 2017, the Qld Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Anthony Lynham announced "multi-million dollar financial and regulatory safeguards, and a stringent monitoring regime" to manage water supply in and around Adani's Carmichael coal project.

He stated that "the water licences provide the mine with a volume of water about one per cent what farmers are able to use in the Burdekin catchment now".

He also stated that there were almost 270 conditions on this project to protect the natural environment and the interests of landholders and traditional owners., with more than 100 of these conditions relating to groundwater.

I encourage everyone to look past the misleading water campaign, and understand the facts, the processes that are already in place, and consider the 40-plus mines that are already operating in our region under strict government regulation.

The Carmichael Mine will be built by hard-working Australians, using Australian suppliers, under Australian regulations.

Where is the evidence that this project will be allowed to be constructed and operated outside of existing government regulations?

Adrienne Rourke,

Resource Industry Network