By Eluan Waldron, edited for online by Raisa Sugandi
New projected figures on the effects of Coal Seam Gas mining have been released by the Queensland Water Commission
The draft Surat Underground Water Impact Report predicts only 2.5 per cent of private bores across Queensland’s Surat basin will be adversely affected by the CSG industry.
Mining company Santos says it welcomes the findings and the impact of its operations will be both minimal and manageable.
However environment groups are not convinced.
Lock the Gate Alliance president Drew Hutton says he believes the report proves the negative effects of the mining, and he is concerned for the landowners relying on the 528 bores expected to be affected.
“Once you’ve lost your water in the bush and you can’t make good, then you walk off your land.
“You certainly can’t sell your land and you can’t be productive if you’re dependent on bores, so you walk off.”
Mr Hutton says the report doesn’t put fears to rest and the findings have been expected.
“I think it’s basically telling us what we already knew, the coal seam gas industry is going to have a significant impact on at least a number the percentage of the bores.
Coordinator of the CSG free strategy in Far Northern NSW, Annie Kia says the the long term affects of mining cannot possibly be accurately predicted, as the methods are too recent.
“My concerns are that it’s really a very new technology.
“The method conveys it has huge risks attached to it, to the aquifers, to the water above and below ground.
Santos says it has already implemented a water-monitoring system which can detect any impacts early on, and a management system to minimise those impacts.
But Mr Hutton and others are sceptical of the mining company’s ability to deal with issues of contamination.
An environmentalist and Secretary of the Clarence Environment Centre in NSW, John Edwards says he doesn’t trust the report.
“There was no evidence of any contamination or anything like that, now there’s no evidence of any unmanageable contamination and they just keep on weasle-wording their way around the issue.
Queensland Water Commissioner Mary Boydell says the report is an important part of managing the impacts of extraction methods such as Coal Seam Gas mining.
The draft will be up for month of public consultation, after which the final report will outline the legal responsibilities permit holders will have to abide by.
Public information sessions will be held in Roma, Chinchilla, Dalby, and Toowoomba over the next two weeks.