Wet season left CQ mines with major water problem: Seeney

SCIENTISTS are analysing water quality from samples captured in a pilot 10-gigalitre water release from Fitzroy Basin mines during the Rockhampton floods.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney told Queensland Parliament on Thursday that the figure represented 0.19% of the total flow through the Fitzroy catchment.

"By the time the floods started to recede at Rockhampton, about 5500 gigalitres had flowed out of the Fitzroy River," he said.

"Throughout the event the electrical conductivity at all monitoring sites was in the normal range for the Fitzroy and well below cease release trigger levels, which had been set as part of the pilot scheme.

"Those trigger levels were put in place to ensure the protection of water quality for irrigation, drinking and the environment."

Mr Seeney said he expected the analysis results would demonstrate claims about environmental impacts from mine water releases were not based on sound scientific evidence, rather a "scare campaign that will fail".

He said recent wet seasons had left mines in Central Queensland with a major water problem which must be addressed.

Mr Seeney said the government believed a salinity trading system, similar to a model in the Hunter Valley in NSW, could be established in the Fitzroy Basin to deal with the problems.

He said the Australia Day floods provided the first opportunity to initiate the pilot release scheme.

"The releases were heavily monitored to provide us with the data to make assessments about those releases and their impacts," he said.

"We need a solution that is firmly based on science and one that establishes a clear set of principles for releasing water from the coalmines into the river system in a way that ensures that current environmental values are maintained and in particular protects the water quality values in Rockhampton.

"The Hunter scheme is based on releases of mine water when the river flow can absorb a salt load without impacting on the environment."

Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne, during a private member's statement to parliament, said the government was only consulting with its "corporate mates" in mining circles and not locals.

He questioned how could the government guarantee water quality when it was investigating eight mines for breaching environmental guidelines.

"We know the mines went flat out during the recent rain event," he said.

"We know there was a very substantial and uncontrolled release of highly problematic waters from Mount Morgan.

"We know that and it is confirmed that a large proportion of the mines pumping breached their own environmental conditions.

"We know there have been hundreds of thousands of fish killed, for at least 40km of the Fitzroy River."



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