Carmichael licences safeguard water
Published Thursday, 06 April, 2017 at 11:50 AM
Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham
Multi-million dollar financial and regulatory safeguards, and a stringent monitoring regime, are now in place to manage water supply in and around the $21.7 billion Carmichael coal project.
Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said Adani had to provide the government $20.15 million before drawing any surface water from a special reserve set aside for significant projects.
“The water licences provide the mine with a volume of water about 1 per cent of what farmers are able to use in the Burdekin catchment now,” he said.
“Adani has to pay the government more than $20 million before they can use the surface water, and pay for it at a rate about three times what farmers currently pay in the lower Burdekin irrigation area.
“They have to have make good agreements in place with landholders whose existing ground water entitlements might be affected.
“There are now almost 270 conditions on this project to protect the natural environment and the interests of landholders and traditional owners.
“More than 100 of these conditions relate to groundwater.
“Most importantly, the government has the ability to require a mine to stop operations if any of these licences are breached.”
The Department of Natural Resources and Mines has granted Adani two licences– one for surface water, and one for groundwater.
“The surface water licence grants the project 10,800 megalitres of surface water a year at $1866 per megalitre. Farmers currently have access to 1,229,000 megalitres. Water for agricultural purpose is currently trading in the lower Burdekin catchment at approximately $570/ megalitre.
Almost another 140,000 megalitres remain untapped in reserve in the Burdekin.
The licences also allow Adani to remove enough water from the mine to allow it to operate safely, Dr Lynham said.
“My Department of Natural Resources and Mines advises that the modelling it assessed shows that up to 4550 megalitres of groundwater could be taken a year,” he said.
“This is roughly equivalent to the amount used each year by a 450 hectare cane farm in the Lower Burdekin.
“Every operational mine in Queensland is authorised to remove groundwater that flows into the mine to make the mine safe, and reuse it if they wish.
“This project has been through extensive scrutiny by State and Federal Governments, and the community, during public consultation and in the courts.
“This project will generate thousands of jobs, as well as business opportunities in northern and central Queensland as well as royalties that will benefit the state as a whole.
“These safeguards will ensure that water resources are protected, and that this critical project progresses sustainably.”
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