Skip navigation

Pages tagged "coal"

Queensland Government approves new greenfield coal mine after state battered by catastrophic climate-induced cyclone and floods

Media Release

8 February 2024

The Queensland Department of Environment and Science has today approved Whitehaven Coal’s Environmental Authority for their proposed Winchester South coal mine, taking this destructive greenfield coal project one step closer to approval. 

The approval is not available online, stakeholders received verbal confirmation from the department that it has occurred yesterday (Wednesday February 7)

Winchester South is Australia’s biggest proposed new greenfield coal mine. Whitehaven Coal plans to mine up to 17 million tonnes of coal each year for 28 years, producing 583 million tonnes of CO2e emissions, more than Australia’s total annual emissions in 2022. Forty percent, around 7 million tonnes a year, of the coal from Winchester South will be thermal coal for electricity. The rest would be low quality PCI coal, which can also be sold into the thermal coal market, and metallurgical coal.   

The project still requires Federal approval from Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek who is assessing the coal mine’s impacts on water and the planned destruction of habitat  for endangered wildlife including koalas and greater gliders. 

Whitehaven Coal has a long track record of breaking the law in NSW, having been fined for stealing 1 billion litres of water during one of the worst droughts at their Maules Creek coal mine, burying toxic tyres, and destroying Aboriginal cultural heritage amongst many other incidents. See the full list here

Imogen Lindenberg, Climate Campaigner at Mackay Conservation Group said:

“Winchester South would leave three giant craters that would drain ground water forever, clear the habitat of endangered koalas and greater gliders, and fuel devastating climate impacts like worse bushfires, floods, droughts, storms and heatwaves already ravaging communities around Queensland and the whole of Australia.  

“The Queensland government’s greenlight for this proposed mega mine in the middle of the climate crisis is reckless in the extreme and flies in the face of the Queensland government’s recently beefed up emissions reduction targets. The Queensland government is undermining its own climate policies by approving massive new polluting coal mines. To reduce emissions we need to urgently phase out fossil fuels, not open new coal mines that will pollute for decades to come.”  

“We now call on Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to refuse this project and not allow koala or glider habitat to be cleared for a climate-wrecking coal mine. Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has approved four new coal mines in the last year. This project is the ultimate test for the Albanese Labor Government on climate. If the Government is serious about climate action, they must stop approving new coal and gas projects, starting with Whitehaven Coal’s Winchester South coal project.”   

“Australia’s national environmental laws do not even consider climate change and the damage to the climate caused by coal and gas mines. The Albanese Labor government’s reforms to national environmental laws must fix this problem and ensure the climate harm of new fossil fuel projects like Winchester South are assessed.”

Further background: 

Around half of the coal from Winchester South will be thermal coal for electricity and the other half would be low quality PCI coal, which can also be sold into the thermal coal market, and metallurgical coal.  

The thermal coal component of the Winchester South mine (7 million tonnes per annum or 40%) will make it the largest proposed new thermal coal mine in Queensland and one of the biggest thermal coal producers in the state. (See page 2-55)

The International Energy Agency has said no new coal mines, including metallurgical coal mines, can go ahead for the world to reach net zero emissions by 2050.  

Page 103 of the IEA report states: 

No new coal mines or extensions of existing ones are needed in the NZE as coal demand declines precipitously. Demand for coking coal falls at a slightly slower rate than for steam coal, but existing sources of production are sufficient to cover demand through to 2050. 


Contact Imogen Lindenberg 0477997392

Climate Change

Sign up to our campaign for urgent action on climate change

Sign up

Environmentalists welcome Valeria coal project abandonment

Media Release

8 December 2022

Mackay Conservation Group has welcomed today’s announcement that Glencore has abandoned its Valeria coal mine proposal, a greenfield project near Capella in Central Queensland.

The mine would have produced 20 million tonnes of thermal and coking coal per year for 35 years. Up to 1.36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide would have been added to the atmosphere by the mine.

According to media reports, Glencore has said its decision to withdraw the project from the assessment process “is consistent with Glencore’s commitment to a responsibly managed decline of our global coal business”.

Mackay Conservation Group coordinator, Peter McCallum, said “this is a positive outcome for all Australians. Our country is already being ravaged by the effects of climate change and this mine would have made the problem worse.”

Read more

Pioneer-Burdekin Hydro Electric Scheme Update

MCG has long campaigned for more renewable energy in Queensland. We welcome the phase out of coal fired power by 2035 but there are concerns about the mega dams that will facilitate the plan. 

Read more

Are we about to witness the end of our coal industry?

A chain with one link made of vegetationLast week a Swedish plant had delivered the world’s first shipment of fossil fuel free steel to the car maker Volvo. Coking (metallurgical) coal in the blast furnace was replaced by hydrogen produced with renewable energy. The Swedish company plans to start delivering commercial quantities of this green steel within five years.

Read more

Urannah Dam is for mining not agriculture

Irwin_Turtle_2.jpgUrannah Dam has been in the news a lot over the past year. Politicians have been talking up the proposal as a potential source of new water for agricultural land around Bowen. However, there are serious questions about whether farmers will ever see a drop of any water from this dam.

The Urannah Creek west of Eungella range is a beautiful place that has considerable environmental values. Its water flows into the Broken River and then into the Burdekin.It is home to the Irwin’s Turtle a unique species that was discovered in 1990 by Steve Irwin’s father Bob. 

Read more

Media Release - Adani coal will destroy the Reef

MCG Media Release Header Image

In the same week that the Great Barrier Reef has been declared as in danger of losing its world heritage listing, environmentalists say there is nothing to celebrate in Adani uncovering coal at the Carmichael mine.

The Reef’s biggest threat is climate change, with three mass bleaching events occurring over the past five years.

Adani plans to eventually scale up its mine to dig 60 million tonnes of coal each year. That will add 4.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, 2 per cent of the carbon dioxide that can be emitted globally to have a better than even chance of keeping global heating below 1.5 degrees.

“This is not a moment for celebration. Future generations of Australians will be battling the serious impacts of climate change. They will look back on today as an abject failure of policy in the face of scientific evidence,” said Mackay Conservation Group campaigner, Sunny Hungerford.

“Where politicians have failed, the public is stepping up to the challenge. Across Australia and around the world people are putting pressure on investors in the Adani project.

“Any investor or contractor supporting Adani is supporting destruction of Wangan and Jagalingou land, Queensland's precious water resources, the Great Barrier Reef and endangered species such as the beautiful Black Throated Finch.

“More than 100 companies have withdrawn support for this project already. We will continue to pressure the remaining few corporations supporting Adani to pull out.


Media Contact

Sunny Hungerford 0499 203 431


Voters want principle based policies

46121096101_9134a3dd42_o.jpgIf there’s a single lesson for politicians from last week’s Victorian election it is that voters want political parties to develop rational policies and stand by them. Despite a major scare campaign around law and order, the ALP leader, Daniel Andrews, stuck to his reasoned platform and was rewarded with a hugely increased majority. He displayed leadership and authority over his party, maintaining a steady course all the way to polling day. With a federal election looming there must be more than a few MPs and candidates contemplating their future in the light of the Victorian result.

Read more

Adani’s Abbot Point pollution demands prosecution

Screen_Shot_2017-04-09_at_9.40.03_am_copy.pngMackay Conservation Group, which last week joined government scientists on a site visit to Adani’s Abbot Point facility where it was evident Adani had allowed coal to pollute the sensitive Caley Valley wetlands during Cyclone Debbie, say the wholesale breach of Adani’s pollution license shows the company cannot be trusted to operate in Australia

Coordinator of the Mackay Conservation Group, Mr Peter McCallum said, “Even with a license to pollute in its back pocket, Adani has still managed to exceed the permitted discharge of contaminants by 800 per cent. This is one more sign Adani’s mine should not proceed

“This breach isn't a minor one. It's equivalent to driver travelling at over 300km/h in a school zone

“Adani have been found to be operating a coal terminal in a cyclone-prone area that cannot withstand a cyclone without risk of contaminating the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the Caley Valley Wetlands.

Read more