Australia Stops Coal Mine Close to Great Barrier Reef

An open-cut coal mine in Queensland with the capacity to produce up to 10 million tonnes of coal every year for 25 years, has been rejected on the grounds it could damage the freshwater creeks and groundwater near the Great Barrier Reef.

The rejection by Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek is the first such decision to be made under Australia’s federal environmental law.

According to Australia’s Nine News, the proposed mining project would have been located less than 10 kilometres from the reef on the Queensland coastline, about 700 kilometres northwest of Brisbane.

Commenting on the decision Environmental Advocacy in Central Queensland director Dr Coral Rowston said: “It was clear this coal mine was unacceptable on environmental grounds from day one, and we thank Minister Plibersek for listening to the science and the Queensland government rejecting this ridiculous proposal,” she said.

“The tourism industry, fishing industry, Styx catchment landholders, and many of us in the community wrote submissions, signed petitions, attended rallies and met with government representatives to make sure decision-makers knew the community valued the Reef, wetlands, endangered species, and groundwater far more than a coal mine.

“This is a victory for the Reef, for tourism, for communities that depend on the Reef for their livelihoods, and for all those who cherish this natural wonder.”

The Australian government has been under pressure from UNESCO to protect the reef and in 2022, it pledged AUD1 billion for efforts to protect the fragile ecosystem, including climate adaptation measures and water quality programs.

#biodiversity #ecosystem #coalmining