Proposed Coal Port in QLD Threatens Unique Wetlands, Local Drinking Water

\ProposedFriends of the Earth Brisbane (FoEB) and the Shoalwater Bay Wilderness Awareness Group (SWAG) reject the proposed coal port near Yeppoon. The port proposal currently being fast-tracked by Premier Bligh is a serious threat to the unique RAMSAR listed wetland area and the cleanliness of local residents drinking water. The port, in conjunction with the three proposed coal mines, is being pursued at cost to local and global environment and will contribute to climate change.

Part of the Shoalwater RAMSAR listed wetlands at threat

Friends of the Earth Brisbane
PO Box 5702 West End Qld 4101
Mobile: 0413 397839

Media Release
August 8, 2008

Friends of the Earth Brisbane (FoEB) and the Shoalwater Bay Wilderness Awareness Group (SWAG) reject the proposed coal port near Yeppoon. The port proposal currently be fast-tracked by Premier Bligh is a serious threat to the unique RAMSAR listed wetland area and the cleanliness of local residents drinking water. The port, in conjunction with the three
proposed coal mines, is being pursued at cost to local and global environment and will contribute to climate change.

Spokesperson for SWAG, Steve Bishopric, says, “The coal terminal is best described as Port Byfield and not Port Clinton or ‘in Shoalwater Bay’. Although located in the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area (SWBTA) the proposed port is close to Byfield township adjacent to the Byfield National Park. The proposed rail line will cut through the Byfield forest, crossing the Yeppoon-Byfield road south of the military gates then into SWBTA along the National Park boundary. This project flies in the face of the Federal Government’s carbon trading initiatives and their calls for Australians to ‘THINK CLIMATE, THINK CHANGE’ ".

Spokesperson for Friends of the Earth Brisbane, Kim Stewart, says, "The Waratah port and coal mine is wrong on so many levels. A worse site for a polluting industrial area couldn't have been found. Premier Bligh is fast-tracking our unique environment into oblivion to benefit a coal industry that knows it's days are numbered.

"This project is all about making as much money out of coal as quickly as possible before it becomes internationally condemned as it should be. The fossil fuel industry is the basis of climate change: it is our duty to the rest of the world and future generations to clean up our act and protect our wilderness areas like Shoalwater Bay - not stick dirty great coal ports in them!"

The local community will be holding two public meetings to discuss the port proposal:

The meetings at Byfield and Stanage bay will give the community the opportunity to air their concerns and to start planning strategies to stop the proposed Coal Terminal

Monday 11th August - 123 Landsberg Road, Stanage Bay, 6.30 p.m.
Thursday 14th August – Public Information Meeting, Byfield Hall - 7pm

For more information/media:
Friends of the Earth Brisbane, Kim Stewart 0413 397839
Shoalwater Wilderness Awareness Group, Steve Bishopric 07 4935 1161
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APPENDIX:

The projected 100 million tonnes per annum facility will be located 3 km north of Five Rocks Beach (Three Rivers) and 20km from Byfield town.

  • Ships may be up to 440,000 tonnes in capacity twice the size of those currently in use elsewhere and drawing up to 24m.
  • Ship and Chinese port construction for this class vessel has already commenced in China.
  • Engineering plans are well advanced for the $5.1 billion rail port project and mine design.
  • The proposal states the rail line will cross only five kilometres of military training area, but will cross the Byfield State Forest and terminate along the boundary of the Byfield National Park.
  • The railway will cross Waterpark Creek and north Sandy Creek just north of Byfield township.
  • Trains will be 21,240 tonnes, with 180 wagons, 6 locomotives, 3.2km long and bottom dumping, operating 24 hrs per day.
  • Port facilities are wholly within the Waterpark Creek catchment area for the Capricorn coast.
  • Coal stockpiles will be 2.5million tonnes and 2.5km x 160m in size with expansion capabilities.
  • A 1.7-km wharf will berth 2 ships loading 10,000 tonnes per hour.
  • Port will also include stockpile reclaimers, conveyors, loaders, two rail loops. A tug harbour and barge dock will possibly be situated in Port Clinton.
  • Port construction workforce will be up to 600 persons with a permanent
  • staff of 100.
  • Port will consume 800 mega litres of water per annum and require a 40 Mw powers supply through a new transmission grid.
  • The project will affect the Darumbal peoples native title claims and indigenous use.
  • Air quality, dust, noise and vibration will impact on neighbouring communities, waterways and beaches.
  • Port is located wholly within RAMSAR wetlands.
  • Port will require amendment of the GBR zone plan to allow shipping access.
  • Waratah Coal admits disturbance to many endangered terrestrial and marine species will result.
  • Dredging will be in pristine sea beds and sediment will be dumped unconfined at sea, affecting habitats.
  • Port will affect fish, turtles, dugongs, dolphins and whales.
  • Access to the port is via the Byfield – Yeppoon road.


(Information sourced from SWAG, Capricorn Conservation Councils meeting
with Waratah Coal’s CEO Peter Lynch and Waratah Coal publications)