Environmental advocate Lance Payne sent this image in to WWF Australia of a turtle hatchling beside a lump of coal at East Point Beach, Mackay.
Environmental advocate Lance Payne sent this image in to WWF Australia of a turtle hatchling beside a lump of coal at East Point Beach, Mackay. Lance Payne/WWF Austalia

Test results of 'black material' at Mackay beach are in

COAL discovered on East Point Beach did not originate in the Bowen or Galilee basins, according to test results from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

A sample of coal and a sample of fine, black material that washed up on a Mackay beach last year were tested after complaints the beach was being contaminated with coal.

An analysis of the coal could not determine where it had come from.

"While it is not entirely possible to pinpoint the exact region this coal is from, it is possible to rule out that this coal originated from the Bowen Basin and Galilee Basin," the report stated.

Analysis of the fine black material showed it did not contain coal but contained magnetite, an oxide of iron.

The origin of the magnetite could not be determined by the laboratory analysis.

However, according to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, independent tests of different samples from East Point Beach in February 2017 by Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay coal terminals revealed coal has been found on the beach that did originate from the Bowen Basin.

Their (port) samples may have come from the "Clermont/Blair Athol" seam, the "Gregory/Kestrel" seam or identified as "high rank Bowen Basin coking coals".

While there has been coal discovered on the beach from the Bowen Basin, an EHP investigation has cleared the ports of breaching their environmental responsibilities.

Initial investigations found both coal terminals are operating in accordance with their environmental authorities.

Both terminals have committed to continuous improvement of on-site containment systems and ongoing monitoring and analysis at East Point Beach.



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