New Hope’s Colton Mine

BirdLife Southern Queensland believes that the recent coal contamination of the pristine Caley Valley Wetlands at Abbot Point should ring alarm bells about the risk of similar incidents at New Hope’s proposed Colton Coal Mine at Aldershot near Maryborough.

Spokesperson, Sheena Gillman, has been appalled but not surprised by the devastation of the Caley Valley Wetlands.  

 “There is a very real risk that the events at Abbot Point could be repeated under New Hope’s plan for the Colton mine – New Hope has a licence to release water waste from the mine into the broader Mary River system,” she said.  

The Mary River flows into the Great Sandy Straits Marine Park – an area currently under consideration for UNESCO World Heritage listing. The marine park is home to thousands of migratory shorebirds in the austral summer, including Eastern Curlew, Great Knot and Curlew Sandpiper.  All three are nationally listed as Critically Endangered.

“New Hope was not even required to submit an Environmental Impact Statement to gain approval for the mine,” said Ms Gillman.  “While it claims that an unexpected release into the Mary River is unlikely, we know climate change means that extreme weather events will occur more frequently, and these have not been adequately considered during the project design and environmental approval phases.” 

 “We cannot support the ‘planned’ release of contaminated waste water into the Mary River system, let alone the risk of massive unplanned releases,” continued Ms Gillman. “This could have a devastating impact on internationally important feeding grounds for our migratory shorebirds.” 

 “The Colton Mine should never have been approved. We should not be willing to risk the devastation of the Great Sandy Straits Ramsar site by waste water release from the mine.”

Click here to read more of our top stories in the media

Great Knot by Andrew Silcocks.