Dawson mine high in toxic air partical polluter stakes

MOURA landholders and some residents less than impressed by Cockatoo Coal's construction of a massive coal stockpile and train load-out facility just outside the town already live with the unhealthy reality that nearby Dawson Mine is one of Australia's most polluting mines.

Dawson Mine, run by Anglo Coal, was identified as the nation's fifth largest toxic air particle polluter that stems from coal mines, by Environmental Justice Australia (EJA).

EJA and its legal team analysed five years of polluter-supplied data to the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) which is overseen by the Australian Government and found big increases in course particle air pollution from coal mines, along with coal-fired power stations and coal terminals in various regions.

EJA uses legal means in its efforts to have the Government establish national clean air pollution laws and hefty penalties that would help protect communities from potentially harmful air pollution.

Its research of the data, released in April, found that the Bowen Basin had more pollution from coal mines than the Hunter Valley - although the NSW region has a more substantial population whose health could be at risk.

The Government data showed coal was the leading source of particle pollution - known as PM10 and that this coarse-particle pollution from coal mining activities - had doubled in the past five years.

The EJA analysis ranked Dawson Mine as being the 5th largest source of PM 10 pollution of all coal mines with an increase of 19% over its previous emissions with over 20 million kgs of PM10 pollution emitted in 2012-13.

This particulate matter is the main component of coal dust and considered to have major impacts on respiratory health, damage to lung tissue and even asthma.

In the past five years, the Particulate Matter emitted from Dawson Mine has tripled along with emissions from many other compounds including lead, mercury, arsenic and fluoride.

Researcher with EJA Dr James Whelan said several mines in Central Queensland have reported much more significant increases in PM10 emissions.

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