The proposed open-cut Colton coal mine is facing a legal challenge in the Queensland Land Court in Brisbane.
Community group Aldershot and District Against Mining has objected to the mine based on dust and noise concerns as well as Colton’s proposal to discharge water into the Mary River.
But Colton lawyer Damien O’Brien told the court the proposed water discharge was not involved in the mining process and was “chemically benign”.
Mr O’Brien said the discharge could help offset water released from an upstream sewage treatment plant.
“It’s actually of a cleaner standard than the water in the Mary River,” Mr O’Brien said.
He said the water was runoff collected from the mine and stored in a different dam than any water used in the mining process.
Mr O’Brien said experts from Colton and ADAM agreed on noise and dust restrictions – except for the possibility of real-time noise monitoring.
The hearing is expected to finish later this week.
EARLIER: Controversial New Hope Coal project dragged into court
A PROPOSED Fraser Coast coal mine will be the focal point of a Brisbane court hearing today.
The Land Court this morning will start hearing arguments in the legal challenge against the proposed Colton open-cut coal mine near Maryborough.
Aldershot and District Against Mining Group will argue the New Hope Coal project could put the Great Sandy Strait at risk if it is allowed to go ahead with plans to discharge untreated waste water from the mine into the Mary River.
The group will argue drinking water could be tainted, there will be excess noise from the mine and coal dust could also be a major issue for the residents of Aldershot.
The proposed mine is about 2km outside the village.
AUSTRALIAN BASS FISH ARE DYING BY THE THOUSANDS AT BASE OF BURRUM WEIR FISHLADDER TRYING TO ACCESS THE FRESH WATER AFTER SPAWNING
FISH are still dying in the Burrum River while Wide Bay Water Corporation dithers over a design for a fishway on the No 1 dam at Howard.
Eight years after Lenthalls Dam was raised, on the condition that a new fishway be built, a detailled design has still not been produced.
The upcoming change in the water body’s corporate structure has also put a hitch in proceedings.
WBWC acting chief executive officer Garry Storch said they did not want to “take a decision without talking to the council about what they would like to do with it”.
“We’ll be taking it up with them in the next week or two as to how they’d like to proceed,” he said.
Mr Storch said they had not been satisfied that the designs they had looked at were going to work appropriately.
“We’ve got to make sure it’s not a white elephant,” he said.
“We’ve got to judge it against cost.
“From a purely environmental (and) fishing point of view, we should be doing it.”
Mr Storch said it was difficult to judge the success of a fishway and they had looked at designs but had not come to any conclusions.
But environmentalist Graham Berry, who has been involved in the fishway discussions all the way along, said a WBWC manager told the council’s environmental advisory committee in February that the Burrum fish ladder was at the detailed design stage and tenders would be called in May or June for construction to be completed in 2013.
He said even though installing a new fishway was a condition of raising Lenthalls Dam in 2004, no timeframe was attached.
Meanwhile, throughout September and October, observers noted a steady stream of bass dying in the river’s tidal saltwater near the No 1 dam because the fish were unable to get back into the freshwater via the existing fish ladder after spawning.
Way back in 2008, the Greater Mary Association criticised the water body was for its “tardiness” in building the fishway.
At the time, water CEO Tim Waldron said it would be easy to build a large concrete structure in the middle of the river that didn’t work.
“We do not want to build something that is not going to work,” he said.
“We are looking for the right long-term answer.”
In September, 2010, WBWC acting CEO Peter Care said $3.2 million had been set aside to build the new fishway to ensure it was completed before the end of the 2012-13 financial year.
Mr Care said the fishway benefits included improving, or allowing, adult fish – particularly Australian bass and barramundi that lived in the freshwater reaches of the Burrum system but moved into the saltwater to breed – access to and from spawning habitats, the dispersal of juvenile fish such as barramundi and mullet to new habitats, access to feeding habitats, the recolonisation of habitats and access to and from refuge areas during droughts or floods.
“We are committed to improving the health of our waterways and our environment department is working closely with stakeholders to ensure a beneficial outcome for fish stocks and habitats,” he said at the time.
Mr Berry said he was a little frustrated by the delay in installing a new fishway but was confident it would be built, “it’s just a matter of when”.
Sourced from the local Chronicle paper & published by Henry Sapiecha
BURRUM RIVER TO HAVE A VASTLY IMPROVED FISH LADDER SAYS COUNCIL
THE proposed fishladder for the No 1 dam on the Burrum River will be fast forwarded as soon as practical, Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell has said.
A condition of raising Lenthalls Dam eight years ago was that a new fishway be built and Wide Bay Water Corporation committed $3.2 million to the project in 2010 with the aim of completing it by June next year.
But a detailed design has not yet been produced and with the council in the process of resuming control of the water body, the future of the project seemed in doubt.
However Cr O’Connell said the council and WBW had not met specifically to discuss the fish ladder but “the project remains a focus and will be progressed as soon as possible”.
“It is one of a raft of projects being undertaken by the water corporation that have been talked about as the corporation transitions to a business unit of council,” he said.
Sourced from the local Chronicle paper & published by Henry Sapiecha
Learn how you could reduce your electricity bills at one of these community meetings to be held in Maryborough, Hervey Bay & Bundaberg by AGL.
Come along to this free community meeting to learn four great ways to help reduce your electricity bill. We will have experts at the meeting who will be on hand to explain:
> How solar power systems work and whether solar power is right for you.
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> Ten common mistakes to avoid when going solar.
> How you can go solar without large upfront costs.
5 reasons to come along:
The knowledge you gain from this free community meeting could help you save energy and money
1. Protect yourself from rising electricity bills.
By generating your own electricity, you could reduce your electricity usage charges and help protect yourself from rising electricity prices. 2. Go solar now and make the most of the government incentive
The federal government’s solar incentive is set to drop by 33% from 1 July and to qualify for the current incentive, solar power systems must be fully installed before then.
But you need to act now, because to ensure installation in time, we need to receive deposits before 12 May 2012.1 3. Learn the advantages of going solar with a trusted company.
AGL has been a trusted energy company for 175 years, so you can be confident that we will support you from inquiry to installation. 4. We make solar affordable.
With our payment plan, you can go solar by paying only $199 upfront for installation of a 1 kW system, then pay your system off from $2.45 a day over 2 years (total minimum cost of $1,990 or from $1,699 without a payment plan).2 5. Maximise the return for any electricity you feed into the grid.
As a retailer, AGL offers an 8 cent premium on top of the amount payable under the Solar Bonus Scheme, giving you a great return on the electricity you feed into the grid.3
THE COLTON MINE PROJECT IN ALDERSHOT FRASER COAST IS UP FOR SALE
BILLIONAIRE Robert Millner’s coalminer, New Hope Corporation, up for sale with hopes of more than $5 billion, said while several third parties had been undertaking ”detailed due diligence” to acquire the company, there was yet no certainty of a deal.
Already this month media reports have highlighted a thinning number of buyers for New Hope, which is 60 per cent owned by listed conglomerate Washington H. Soul Pattinson, controlled by Mr Millner who is non-executive chairman of both companies.
Prospective Korean and Indian buyers have reportedly withdrawn, while China’s Yanzhou Coal is pursuing a $700 million merger with Gloucester Coal. Analysts are sceptical a deal will result.
New Hope gave its first earnings guidance for 2011-12 yesterday, indicating net profit for the six months to January 31 would be in the range of $96 million to 101 million, down about 75 per cent from the $407 million in the previous corresponding period, when New Hope sold Arrow Energy for $326 million.
After stripping out non-recurring items, the forecast first-half profit this year will be about 18-25 per cent higher than in 2011, driven by a stronger operational result with production volumes up 31 per cent to 3.2 million tonnes.
Meanwhile, Gloucester Coal said yesterday merger discussions with Yanzhou Coal were progressing to schedule and it would update the market next week. Gloucester blamed a weak export market for its reported interim net loss of $37 million, down from a $23 million a year ago, despite big rises in production and sales volumes. Gloucester said the market would remain weak for the rest of the financial year, particularly in metallurgical coal. It forecast EBITDA (excluding merger transaction costs) for the full year of between $45 million and $55 million in 2011-12.
New Hope shares were unchanged at $5.72 while Gloucester fell 1¢ to $8.14.
25 January 2011
Residents of the Fraser Coast to have their say on flood response
The Fraser Coast Regional Council wants to hear from residents about the recent Mary River flood.
“The flood tested our emergency response plan,” Mayor Mick Kruger said.
“While most of our response went smoothly and according to the plan, there are certainly areas where we think we can improve.”
One area for improvement is Council’s ability to get information on flood heights as the water flows down the river, Cr Kruger said.
Since the flood waters have receded Council has conducted two debriefing sessions to obtain feedback. One debriefing session was held with emergency services and government agencies and a separate session was held with Council staff.
“We also want to hear from residents,” Cr Kruger said.
“We’d like to know what you think were good points of the flood response as well as where you think the response could have been improved.”
Residents can email their views to email@example.com; fill in an on-line response form under the Have Your Say section of the Council website www.frasercoast.qld.gov.au or contact a Customer Service Officer on 1300 79 49 29 to have their feedback recorded.
“People will be able to lodge their responses until close of business on Friday, February 18,” Cr Kruger said.
“All the responses will be considered during a review of Council’s Local Disaster Management Plan which is conducted after an incident.”
HAVE YOUR SAY ON THE HERVEY BAY FORESHORE DEVELOPMENT OR CLEANUP
RSVP BY FRIDAY, 12 NOVEMBER-FRASER COAST CHRONICLE
As you are aware, the Fraser Coast Chronicle has asked the question about whether or not the Foreshore area of Hervey Bay should be left as it is or have work undertaken to provide better usage for the broader community. The Esplanade represents one of the key assets for the Fraser Coast and the question about what to do with the foreshore is a question that has been sitting unanswered for too long. What do we, as a community, want from our Esplanade and our foreshore for the next twenty years?
Peter Chapman has offered to conduct a survey of the wider community to gain an understanding of their views and the Chamber believes it is important that as many people as possible participate so that the outcome is truly representative of the wider community and not the vocal minorities. This is a rare chance for you to have a say and let your voice be heard.
To participate in the survey email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell the Chronicle what you think should be done. You must attach your name and suburb for the vote to be recognized.
For the record, I believe the Foreshore needs to be cleaned up and have emailed the Chronicle saying so. What do you think?
Bernard Whebell Received & published by Henry Sapiecha