Huge mine pits ‘would meet rehabilitation goals’: Minister
Large mine pits left on the Isaac River flood plain after the shut down of a Central Queensland mine “would meet rehabilitation goals”, Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon says.
Greens Maiwar MP Michael Berkman submitted a Queensland parliament Question on Notice to Ms Scanlon asking how the approval of the Pembroke Resources Olive Downs mine met the Department of Environment and Science’s expectations and best practice environmental management.
Last month, the Daily Mercury reported RTI documents revealed the department repeatedly flagged concerns with the then Co-ordinator-General during the mine’s environmental approval process in 2018 and 2019 about the serious risks of leaving large mine pits — also known as “voids” — on the Isaac River flood plain after the mine shuts down.
It also warned a sufficient assessment had not been completed into the ongoing impacts of this on the groundwater, the nearby Isaac River and flood plain.
In her response to the question, Ms Scanlon said the Co-ordinator-General had sought additional information from Pembroke Resources about final voids and waste rock emplacements.
“This additional information was considered by the Co-ordinator-General prior to the decision to approve the project, subject to conditions in the evaluation report,” she said.
“The evaluation report concluded that final voids would meet the rehabilitation goals and represent a manageable and relatively low risk to the environmental values of the Isaac River flood plain.
“The approved Environmental Impact Statement and the stated conditions included in the environmental authority require the three final voids on the flood plain to be rehabilitated to a safe, stable and nonpolluting condition that supports a post-mining land use of fauna habitat.
“As required by the Environmental Protection Act 1994, the department included the Co-ordinator-General’s stated conditions for the project as conditions on the environmental authority.”
Ms Scanlon said the Co-ordinator-General also required the proponent to develop and provide a progressive mine landform and rehabilitation plan, which had been conditioned in the environmental authority.