Friday, 09 November 2012 08:33
Water from four flooded mines in central Queensland may be released into a river during the coming wet season, the state government said.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney announced on Thursday the water discharge would go ahead if strict environmental conditions were met by mine owners and flows in the Isaac River were strong enough.
Mr Seeney says the government is trying to work out how to release water from flooded coal mines without damaging local water quality.
"The pilot (release) will be strictly monitored," he told reporters.
"The findings will improve our understanding of the river system and provide the basis to develop a permanent solution for management of mine water."
The government believes the solution could lie in setting up salinity trading systems.
"Salinity trading is based on the release of water during flow periods where the river has the capacity to absorb a salt load without impacting on the environment," Mr Seeney said.
"River monitoring determines when discharges are possible and tradeable salinity credits are used to determine the total amount of salt that can be discharged."
Opposition environment spokeswoman Jackie Trad slammed the proposal saying the "pollution trading scheme" would open the floodgates for 36 other mines to release "dirty water" into rivers.
"Today Mr Seeney is also talking up the introduction of a complicated pollution trading scheme which the public has only one more day, tomorrow, to provide feedback on," she said.
"Mr Seeney is forcing his dirty water deal down the throats of the people of Rockhampton with no consultation and no appropriate planning or process."
State member for Rockhampton Bill Byrne said the decision to allow the release was made without proper planning or process.
"We will fight the release of this dirty water into our drinking water supply every step of the way," he said.
"The release of dirty mine water is strongly opposed by the people of Rockhampton, which raises the question whose interests is the deputy premier representing."
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