Program to release water from coal mines highlighted
MORE mines will be releasing stagnant water from pits in the coming wet season after the Queensland Government reaffirmed plans to increase its mine discharge program tests over summer.
In budget papers released this week, "expanding the pilot program to release water captured in Central Queensland coalmines" is deemed a highlight for the coming financial year.
The first pilot included four BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance mines - Goonyella Riverside, Peak Downs, Saraji, Norwich Park - but this will be significantly expanded.
The government is yet to decide on how many of Central Queensland's 42 mines will be included in the next program.
Any mine considering inclusion in the scheme will be forced to prove to the government that they have already taken steps to handle the legacy water themselves.
If waterways near the mine did not carry enough water to handle the discharges, that would act as a deal breaker.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney recently released an analysis following the initial pilot project showing no significant damage to the health of the Fitzroy Basin.
Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche said with 250,000 megalitres of water still trapped in mines, the program was important but would rely on weather conditions.
"In reality, not all mines are likely to seek to join the program, with many being satisfied with their current environmental authorities," he said.
Mr Roche said he expected the government to would adopt a "measured approach" to the releases in the coming summer.
The government will hold discussions with mining companies about the program throughout the winter months.