International Experts Called in to Stop Xstrata’s Wandaon Coal Mine

Friends of the Earth Australia
6th August, 2011

International Experts Called in to Stop Xstrata’s Wandaon Coal Mine


Friends of the Earth (FoE) has called in some of the world’s leading climate change experts as witnesses to assist the Queensland Land Court in understanding FoE’s climate change case against the Wandoan Mega Mine. FoE are calling on the Court to recommend that the Queensland Government reject the mine as part of the formal approval process for the proposed mine.

The experts include;
· Dr. Malte Meinshausen, senior research fellow at the renowned Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in German
· Ove Hoegh-Guldberg Professor of Marine Studies the University of Queensland, Director of the Global Change Institute and lead author for the Oceans chapter of the next IPCC report
· Ian Lowe, emeritus professor at Griffith University an internationally recognised expert on environmental issues, energy, science and technology who was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2001 for services to science and technology, especially in the area of environmental studies
· Hans Hoegh-Guldberg an internationally recognised expert on the valuation of climate change impacts on coral reefs, having most recently completed a study on the Florida Keys for the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Friends of the Earth is challenging the proposed Xstrata mine at Wandoan in Central Queensland because it will be one of the largest coal mines in the world which will create a sizable 0.15% of annual global emissions every year.

“The court case set to commence on 22 August, will be a test case in Queensland and the first case of its kind in the Queensland Land Court,“ said Dr Bradley Smith from Friends of the Earth. “We want the Queensland Government to reject the mine, because of the massive carbon emissions and environmental impacts from the mine. We are taking this action to protect our climate and the environment. “

“The Queensland Government continues to approve coal mines, without regard for the global emissions from mining the coal. They approve the mine, collect the billions of dollars in royalties and then wash their hands of the impacts”.

“The coal from the proposed mega mine at Wandoan will be exported and end up contributing to climate change. This mine will create upward of 1.3 billion tonnes of carbon emissions over 30 years. This will contribute to impacts on the Great Barrier Reef leading to job losses and massive impacts on the Queensland economy.”

“The Great Barrier Reef is an economic powerhouse, generating thousands of jobs in tourism and services, and contributing $6.9 billion to the economy every year [1]. Without the reef, destinations like Cairns, Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays would become ghost towns.”

“Estimates show that upwards of $1 billion could be lost to local Queensland communities every year from climate impacts on the Great Barrier Reef over the coming decades.” [2]

“It really does not make sense. On the one had the Queensland Government approves coal mines across Queensland. Yet these mines will prove be a future disaster for the State,” said Dr Smith. “Queenslanders have had enough! City, rural and coastal communities want this mine stopped.”

“The Queensland Government should reject this mine under the EIS, until it can be proven that the emissions from using the coal will be zero,” said Dr Smith. ”A mine of this size should not be approved in Queensland until technology is available that eliminates emissions from coal combustion.”

“The Queensland Government has the power to reject the proposed mine under Queensland EIS legislation. They need to and start regulating coal mining to stop the impacts on the climate system.”

For comment:

Friends of the Earth: Dr Bradley Smith, +61 413 280 006
Environmental Defenders Office: Sean Ryan, +61 7 3211 4466

For further information please see:

1. (GBRMPA 2007).
2. Oxford Economics 2009