The Latest · Nature & the Reef

Another mine contaminating our precious rivers

29 August, 2018

Did you see the reports on the toxic contamination of a Reef catchment river that has occurred from a mine up in beautiful North Queensland?

Qld needs stronger river protections and better resource activity regulation

South-west of Cairns, the Baal Gammon copper mine has been contaminating the Walsh River and Jamie Creek with high levels of toxins.

The levels of toxicity are so bad that residents have been warned not to drink or use the water or swim in the waterways. Some of these residents reportedly depended on the river for their businesses, and hold water licences they now cannot use. 

EDO Qld CEO and solicitor Jo Bragg says: “Successive governments in Queensland have allowed us to develop mines in high risk locations, including next to rivers and close to townships.”

“It’s time Queensland provided clear ‘no go’ zones where resource and other contaminating or high risk activities simply cannot be developed, to protect our ecosystems and communities.”

“We need to strengthen our compliance and enforcement regime to ensure that contamination such as this is picked up quickly and stopped, or better yet – prevented from happening at all” she said.

“Also, we need to make our financial assurance framework watertight. Once again it is reported that the government does not hold sufficient financial assurance to undertake the action needed to address this contamination, reportedly requesting $2 million more in financial assurance from this company.”

“This is not good enough.”

"EDO Qld are concerned that the proposed changes to our financial assurance and mine rehabilitation laws (not yet passed) may not be sufficient to ensure government holds adequate financial assurance to protect us against mismanaged sites such as this one."

"The government needs to ensure it stands up to resource companies and requires that sufficient money is provided in financial assurance." 

“Queenslanders and our precious ecosystems deserve strong laws and good governance that truly protects our environment and communities from contaminating, high risk industries such as mining and gas activities. It’s time industry and our governments took environmental protection seriously.”