New groundwater modelling using five years of expert, on-the-ground, science has proved current and planned open-cut mining at the Carmichael mine has not, and will not, harm the Doongmabulla springs.
Bravus Mining and Resources has submitted an updated groundwater model for the area of the Carmichael mine and its surrounds to the Queensland Government as per the requirements of the Groundwater Management and Monitoring Plan, one of the suites of State or Commonwealth regulatory documents that form the operation’s rigorous environmental approvals.
At the heart of the new groundwater model is data that expert hydrogeologists collect and record every two months from a network of more than 120 monitoring bores on Bravus’ mining and pastoral leases and on neighbouring landholders’ properties.
Surface water samples are collected from another 15 locations including the Doongmabulla springs complex, which is a grouping of individual groundwater springs that naturally discharge water from the Great Artesian Basin. The nearest of the springs is located about 11 kilometres from any mining activity at Carmichael.
Bravus Mining and Resources Chief Operating Officer Mick Crowe said the peer-reviewed data was the most comprehensive scientific understanding of groundwater in the local area and demonstrated the process of environmental checks and balances for the mine was working well.
“The Carmichael mine has some of the strictest environmental conditions of any resources project in Australia’s history,”Mr Crowe said.
“As part of those conditions, we have been measuring groundwater levels in and around the mining area for the last five years and have now submitted that information to the Queensland Government.
“The work we’ve done shows that we are not dropping the level of the water in the Doongmabulla springs complex with any of the open-cut surface mining we are undertaking now.
“The expert modelling also demonstrates that future open-cut surface mining will not cause water levels in the springs, the nearest of which is about 11 kilometres away from our mining activities, to drop.”
“While we are not doing any underground mining now, the new model does indicate we have additional work to do on our future underground mining plans to ensure they do not cause water levels in the springs to fall by more than 20 centimetres after mining occurs, which is one of our regulatory conditions.
“Protecting the springs has always been a top priority for us as we understand both their value to the Traditional Owners of the area and their inherent environmental value, and we will now use the science and the model to rework our future underground mining plans to ensure we comply with our approvals.
“This process shows the right checks and balances are in place to protect groundwater, however, anti-coal activists have begun a misinformation campaign to twist the truth to try to dupe the community into believing that our mine will damage the springs. This is absolutely not the case.
“Queenslanders can be confident we are mining in a way that protects the environment and sites of cultural significance and will continue to create local jobs and business opportunities for generations.”
About Bravus Mining & Resources’ approvals and groundwater
The Carmichael mine was granted approvals under seven different Commonwealth and Queensland Acts and, as such, has some of the strictest environmental conditions ever imposed on a mining project in Australia.
Bravus Mining and Resources’ actions to protect groundwater are set out in the Groundwater Management and Monitoring Plan and Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan, both of which were approved by the Australian and Queensland governments following independent review by the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia.
More than 10 years of baseline groundwater data was collected to inform the Groundwater Management and Monitoring Plan and Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan prior to the documents being approved.
These best-practice environmental plans are reviewed annually in consultation with regulators and external scientists to ensure they remain fit-for-purpose as our understanding of local groundwater and spring ecosystems advances as the program is delivered.
One of the regulatory conditions for the Carmichael mine states that water levels in the Doongmabulla springs complex must not fall more than 20cm.
Bravus Mining and Resources undertook extensive scientific studies to inform the approach to mining at the Carmichael mine and ensure there would be no impact on the Doongmabulla springs complex, the species that depend on it, or the cultural heritage significance of the area.
About the groundwater monitoring program
The groundwater study is part of a comprehensive suite of environmental programs Bravus Mining and Resources delivers to investigate, record, and, when necessary, take action to uphold its sustainability commitments.
Every two months, experienced hydrogeologists collect and record groundwater data at more than 120 monitoring bores on our mining and pastoral leases and on neighbouring landholders’ properties. Surface water samples are collected from another 15 locations.
The monitoring bores were drilled to specific depths to allow the hydrologists to collect information on aquifers in nine different geological layers.
The groundwater and surface water samples collected in the field are sent for analysis at an independent ISO-accredited laboratory using a strict chain of custody.
The laboratory tests for 40 different water quality parameters.
The information gathered is reported to Bravus Mining and Resources and to regulators and informs a process of checking any actual groundwater drawdown impacts via sensitive early warning triggers.
Bravus Mining and Resources also makes this information available to the public via its website.
About the Carmichael mine
The Carmichael mine is producing high-quality coal for export to nations around the world that want to lift their people out of energy poverty.
The mine continues to safely and efficiently ramp up to its constructed level of production which is in the order of 10 million tonnes per annum.
Townsville and Rockhampton remain the primary employment hubs for the Carmichael mine and we continue to recruit workers who can drive to the site from the Isaac Region.
More than 2,600 people were employed and more than A$1 billion was paid to regional Queensland contractors and businesses since construction began on the Carmichael project in 2019.
Although the primary construction phase is finished, Carmichael still has more than 750 people on-site at any time while another third are on days off.
Carmichael coal is high quality with low sulphur, low trace elements and low ash which meets the import requirements of many international markets, including those in the Asia-Pacific region.
Carmichael coal is sold into the international seaborne export market and its ultimate destination depends on market demand.
1. Experienced hydrogeologists collect and record groundwater data at more than 120 monitoring bores on the Carmichael mining lease and surrounding area.
2. The Moses spring is located on a cattle property in the local area. It is part of the Doongmabulla springs complex and is monitored by Bravus Mining and Resources as one of the environmental conditions for the Carmichael mine.
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