The State Government has begun the environmental assessment process for a proposed water pipeline, the backbone of a $500 million expansion of the New Acland coal mine near Oakey.
Coordinator-General Colin Jensen today released the environmental impact statement (EIS) for the 45 kilometre-long underground pipeline, and its associated infrastructure for public submissions.
“When completed, this $29 million pipeline project will be capable of delivering recycled water from the Wetalla Wastewater Reclamation (WWR) plant, directly to the mine,” Mr Jensen said.
“If approved, the pipeline will ensure the mining company could meet the increased demand for water as a result of its expanded operations.
“It would also increase the reliability of water supply by supplementing current groundwater extracted from the Great Artesian Basin, which is becoming less reliable due to drought and overuse in the Eastern Downs area.”
The mining company New Acland Coal Pty Ltd (NAC) has arranged with Toowoomba Regional Council, owners of the WWR plant, to take up to 5,500 megalitres of water each year – half of the plant’s total output 11,000 megalitres.
In addition to the water pipeline, the project includes:
- Storage tanks at the WWR facility and the mine
- A pump station and new 750 kV transformer
- A surge tower and equipment at the mine and WWR to control pipeline operations.
New Acland Coal expect to create up to the equivalent of 60 full-time jobs during construction, if the proposal is approved.
“It’s important for the public to know that an EIS allows coordination of government consideration of the project. It does not equate to government support for a project,” Mr Jensen said.
“Rather, it signals the beginning of a rigorous assessment of the project’s impacts on the natural, social, economic, built and cultural environment.
“The project will require a range of environmental, construction and operational regulatory approvals involving all three tiers of government.”
Public submissions will be sought until 5pm, Friday 15 August 2008.
EIS Project Manager – Wetalla Pipeline Project
Significant Projects Coordination
Department of Infrastructure and Planning
PO Box 15009, City East, Qld 4002.