Government must block biggest ever Australian mega mine proposal

Press release - 18 December, 2011

Monday December 19, Sydney: With the submission process closing on 19 December, Greenpeace is calling on the Government to reject the application for what would be Australia’s biggest coal mine, proposed in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

Waratah Coal’s China First mine would produce 40 million tonnes of coal per year. According to Greenpeace-commissioned research[1], just the mining of the coal alone will result in 5.3 million tonnes of CO2 emissions –equivalent to 1.5 million cars on the road or 425,500 Australian households.
However, when burned, the coal will produce an additional 95 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum for most of the mine’s operational life, equivalent to 16% of Australia’s current emissions, or 26.9 million extra cars on the road, or 7.6 million additional households[2].
“It doesn’t matter where the coal is burned, approving the China First mine would be an act of environmental vandalism,” said Greenpeace Senior Climate Campaigner, John Hepburn.
The China First proposal forms part of a broader mining plan in the Galilee Basin and includes a proposal for a new rail line that would unlock 375 million tonnes of new coal production each year. To put this in perspective, in the year 2010-11, Australia exported a total of 283 million tonnes of coal[3].
Analysis by Greenpeace shows that in 2030 the combined emissions from the Galilee Basin mines would be equivalent to 266 million cars on the road, or 75.5 million Australian households.
The plan will also result in the open-cut mining of the stunning 8000-hectare Bimblebox Nature reserve.
“This is a staggeringly large and ill-conceived project,” said Hepburn. “It is taking us in exactly the wrong direction. We have an ever-narrowing window of time to cut global emissions to avoid a climate catastrophe. Australia is in the front-line of climate change impacts – if this project goes ahead it will do untold damage” said Hepburn. ”It is like putting a gun to our own head”.
[1]  Rutovitz, J. and Mason, L. 2011. Climate impact analysis of the China First Mine and the proposed development of the Galilee Basin, QLD. Prepared for: Greenpeace Australia Pacific. Institute for Sustainable
Futures, University of Technology, Sydney.
[2] Ibid
[3] BREE 2011, Resources and Energy Statistics 2011, BREE, Canberra, 22/11/2011