MAC: Mines and Communities

Xstrata in court over coal carbon emissions

Published by MAC on 2011-05-10
Source: Toowoomba Chronicle

Global mining giant in court today

Toowoomba Chronicle

4 May 2011

UPDATE: Global mining giant Xstrata will today face the Land Court of Queensland over the greenhouse impacts of its proposed Wandoan mega coal mine.

Friends of the Earth lodged the objection with the Land Court due to the colossal carbon emissions from the mine. Its members say that the mega mine will have disastrous impacts and should simply not go ahead.

"Each year that the Wandoan mine operates it will result in more greenhouse pollution than 150 countries," spokesman John Mackenzie said.

"The impacts that this will cause on our climate and the Great Barrier Reef are unacceptable and will be around long after the mine is closed."

Today's initial hearing will set out the scope and timing of the trial, which will call a variety of experts to give evidence on the impacts that this mine will have on Queensland's environment and the global climate.

Each year the proposed Xstrata coal mine will extract 30 million tonnes of coal and cause 47 mega tonnes of carbon dioxide pollution, a sizable 0.15 per cent of annual global emissions.

If the mine goes ahead, it will be one of the largest coal mines in the world.

"This project will lock Queensland into a huge expansion of the worlds dirtiest energy source for the next three decades, when the only responsible thing to do is transition to a cleaner economy," Mr Mackenzie said.

"Approving mega coal mines which lead to massive carbon emissions will be another nail in the coffin for the Great Barrier Reef.

"Queensland will lose an economic asset which generates over $6 billion dollars annually and provides over 50,000 jobs.

"Queensland's climate is set to worsen over coming decades. The CSIRO predicts more extreme floods and cyclones to batter the state, and much harsher droughts that could decimate rural industries."

In a statement released yesterday, Xstrata Coal stated it took its responsibility for environmental management very seriously and had followed a rigorous environmental assessment and review process throughout each stage of the mining lease application process.

"Xstrata Coal has actively engaged in an ethical and transparent consultation process with landholders and the wider community throughout the last four years of the approvals process, to fully understand stakeholder concerns and achieve mutually-agreeable arrangements where possible," the statement read.

A comprehensive projection of the Wandoan Coal Project's estimated greenhouse gas emissions was outlined in both the project's Environmental Impact Statement - released in December 2008 - and November 2009 supplementary EIS.

The supplementary document shows that in year-24 of the operation of the proposed mine, when greenhouse gases are predicted to peak, the mine's emissions (excluding emissions associated with the subsequent burning of coal by third parties) would be 0.08% of the Australian total.

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