Bravus Mining and Resources has hit back at allegations that poor sediment controls on the massive Carmichael coal construction project are causing environmental damage.
The Mackay Conservation Group this week said it believed conditions imposed on the company’s rail project to protect nearby waterways from contamination may have been breached.
MCG’s lawyers at Environmental Justice Australia have written a letter to Queensland Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon urging an immediate investigation.
They have also requested urgent inspection of all construction sites along the rail project.
Bravus Mining and Resources (formerly Adani Mining) described the allegations as the latest tactic in a decade-long misinformation campaign to undermine the reputation of the Carmichael project and halt or delay its construction.
Coal project ‘takes obligations seriously’
“We refute the allegations made today by anti-coal activist organisations Environmental Justice Australia and Mackay Conservation Group, about the appropriateness of the sediment controls we have in place to manage dirty rainwater run-off and flood waters at our remote rail construction sites,” a company spokeswoman said.
“We have not received any information or communications from the Queensland Department of Environment and Science regarding a complaint or investigation about sediment controls at any of the Carmichael project construction sites in central Queensland.
“The Carmichael project takes our environmental obligations seriously and we have erosion and sediment control measures in place at all of our construction sites, to ensure we comply with our environmental approvals for daily operations and extreme weather events.”
She said a Certified Practitioner Erosion Sediment Control expert undertook routine inspections with contractors at the rail construction site before Christmas as part of the project’s wet weather preparation.
“Over January, Central Queensland received heavy rainfall. There was widespread and localised flooding during January, and some parts of our site were inundated with storm water,” she said.
“The photos released by Environmental Justice Australia, which were illegally taken, show the stormwater flooding. Flooding or significant movement of water across the site, does not mean we are not compliant with our conditions.”
Mackay Conservation Group said photos of the alleged breaches provided in an Environmental Pollution Incident to the minister were taken about two weeks after intense rainfall in late December, which left large sections of the Carmichael rail corridor submerged beneath flood waters.
It argues they show evidence of widespread flood damage and ineffective sediment control measures including:
- destroyed or compromised and ineffective erosion and sediment control measures
- soil stockpiles with no visible erosion control measures
- heavily disturbed and unstabilised riparian areas
- debris from flooding within the construction site.
Urgent need for inspections – MCG
“The government must urgently inspect all construction sites on the Carmichael railway line to ensure that they are following the rules that are supposed to protect our precious waterways from sediment pollution,” group co-ordinator Peter McCallum said.
“The government must prosecute any company or individual found to be in breach of the environmental rules that regulate this project.”