Mine approved despite complete destruction of water supply

A MASSIVE Indian-owned mine planned for Central Queensland has been given State Government approval, even as the Coordinator-General's final report warned nearby groundwater supplies would "be permanently lost".

The Kevin's Corner project - once owned by billionaire magnate and heiress Gina Rinehart - now belongs to Indian powerhouse GVK, which is also developing the equally gigantic Alpha Coal project nearby.

About 1800 workers will be needed to build the sprawling resources project, and a further 1600 once mining begins.

The $4.2 billion development will supply 30 million tonnes a year of thermal coal, used for electricity production, via the Port of Abbot Point near Bowen.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said its support for the giant project showed the Queensland Government was determined to build the state's economy.

The go-ahead marks further development of the Galilee Basin west of Rockhampton, which is growing into a hive of activity for large-scale international energy companies keen to assure a long-term coal supply.

GVK chief Indian competitor Adani is already well progressed in its own plans for an enormous coal mine in the region.

Queensland's richest man and aspiring politician Clive Palmer has staked his claim in the basin through his firm Waratah Coal's China First development.

While the approval is a major step for the company, some hurdles remain on its path to production.

In Coordinator General Barry Broe's final report, he warned at least 28 landholder bores near Kevin's Corner and the town of Alpha would be at risk

"Long term (post-mining) predictions indicate that groundwater levels would not recover to pre-mining levels adjacent to the project," he wrote.

"Thus, the groundwater resources would be "mined" from the Permian Sandstone and permanently lost".

Mr Broe added that GVK had committed to "make good" all impacts on landowner water supplies and negotiations with those owners had already begun.

GVK will be asked to put together a long-term plan for water security in the area before mining begins.

The project must now be given another approval by Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke.

What to expect from a $4.2b mine:

  • Two open-cut mines.
  • Three underground mines
  • Accommodation for 2000 workers
  • Airport with 2.5km runway.

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