Media release from Drew Hutton

Flood waters creating massive pollution from mine sites across Queensland

Here is the media release put out by Drew Hutton in response to the flooded mines in Queensland – (see stories, links below):

Mines will be releasing huge amounts of heavy metals into the flood waters and much of this will pile up behind weirs in catchments like the Fitzroy and be a pollution problem for many years. Pollutants include dangerous levels of copper, uranium, zinc, aluminium, lead, arsenic, cobalt and nickel.

Even more worrying, flooding of coal seam gas areas is undoubtedly over-topping holding ponds containing large amounts of salty water. Once this salt hits the high clay content black soil plains of the Darling Downs it is likely to destroy the ability of these fields to produce again since salt on soil containing more than 30 per cent clay renders such soil unproductive.

Friends of the Earth spokesperson Drew Hutton said this was the third year in a row that major flooding had caused serious pollution events. In 2008 the Ensham coal mine in central Queensland was flooded and heavy metals were released into the Fitzroy catchment. In 2009 the Lady Annie copper mine in north Queensland released large amounts of heavy metals when its tailings dam was breached.

These events were possibly the biggest pollution events in the state’s history.

“The mining industry’s claim that dilution solves all these problems is fanciful,” Mr Hutton said.

“The dilution effect will offer some diminution of the damage but the heavy metals released from mines will lodge behind any obstructions in the river system and stay in the sediments, ready to be mobilised and the salt from coal seam gas operations will ruin good farmland.

“It is illegal for mining companies to cause such high levels of pollution but all the State government can do is approve these releases and hope for the best.”
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4 Responses to “Media release from Drew Hutton”

  1. cher koffel says:

    Hi, I am a layperson and am horrified at the speed this is happening….Queensland needs to mobilise quickly as even in the Gov. Generals report on these projects …he stated his concerns for these companies not being specific re water pollution and supply…DERM also voiced their concerns…remedy if farmer runs out of water or has problems with bores is crazy…a paper / court shuffle…people in australia aren’t aware of the extreme danger of gas extraction to water table….the mining companies have issued full page indoctrinations in Qld. to gather public sentiment…Why can’t we state facts in easy to read aussie terms short and sweet…t’shirts say it can’t eat gas/ coal…also if international agreement and no risk management re flooding….why isn’t EPA taking these overseas companies to court? Please tell me whats in it for our pollies, Labor / LNP, surely 30 year payroll is not the reason? please download me …happy new year cher

  2. Andrew Reilly says:

    Queensland is a very wealthy and fortunate state,i dont understand why we would put so much at risk by mining [extracting] coal seam gas before we fully understand the risks and ramifications.
    The gas is safely stored where it is ,new technology will become available to improve the safety and efficiency of extracting it and its value will increase so one has to wonder what politicians have to gain out rushing into it.

    The Gov. has a double standard for how they treat small business and multi national companies

  3. Noel Clothier says:

    I would surely anticipate a class action against the Coal Seam Gas companies by affected farmers on the Downs when this saline water reaches their soils.

  4. len sheehan says:

    an horrific water table pollution documentary shown by sbs about a U.S case has never resurfaced.It was evidence enough to have the australian version stopped in the interest
    of future generations who will have no recourse .csg coompanies should have every
    possible resistance put in their way.this 80 year old is sad.

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