Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Inundated Mines Put Huge Drain on State's Economy

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Inundated Mines Put Huge Drain on State's Economy

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Williams

WITH the sun out and people beginning to put one of the wettest seasons on record behind them, it is hard to imagine that 75% of Queensland mines are still inundated by water.

Speaking at the Surat Basin Coal and Energy conference yesterday, Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche reminded people that the problem of water on Bowen Basin mine sites was far from over.

Mr Roche showed a photo of a flooded pit at one of the mines in the Bowen Basin, which still contained 48gigalitres (one gigalitre is equivalent to 100,000,000litres) of water, which had built up over the wet season.

Mr Roche joked, saying he thought the mine would have gotten rid of about one gigalitre by now, only leaving them with 47gigalitres to worry about.

C[pounds sterling]Basically what the mines are doing is moving water around on site, from pit to pit,C[yen] he said.

C[pounds sterling]I flew over the mines recently and there was activity, but still pit after pit was filled with water.

C[pounds sterling]They need to get rid of that water but the challenge is how and when.C[yen]

Mr Roche said the problem was serious and must not be overlooked.

C[pounds sterling]While the commission of inquiry understandably is focusing on the human impacts around Toowoomba, Grantham and Brisbane, we think the commission inquiry needs to take into account the huge economic cost to the state and the coal industry in particular.

The official Queensland Treasury number released in late January was that the coal industry was set to lose about 15million tonnes in coal production as a result of the floods.

C[pounds sterling]We thought at the time a minimum 30million tonnes and it could be as high as 53million tonnes,C[yen] Mr Roche said.

C[pounds sterling]We think now it will be somewhere between 30 and 53, perhaps around the 40million mark; that is the equivalent of wiping out all of the economic growth in Queensland for 2009/10. …

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