Water management for coal resource developments

As noted in companion submethodology M04 (as listed in Table 1) for developing a coal resource development pathway (Lewis, 2014), the proposed water management strategies at each modelled coal mine in the CRDP are important to inform the hydrological modelling in the BA. Specific rules or assumptions that may relate to modelling the coal mines in the CRDP are outlined in the surface water modelling (companion product 2.6.1 (Karim et al., 2018)) and the groundwater modelling (companion product 2.6.2 (Peeters et al., 2018)) for the Galilee subregion.

There are no coal or CSG developments in the baseline for the Galilee subregion. Six of the seven coal mines in the modelled CRDP are either at an EIS stage in development approval, or have an approved environmental authority. The six coal mine development proposals at these advanced stages of approval are: China Stone, Carmichael, Kevin’s Corner, Alpha, China First and South Galilee. As of February 2016, only the proposed Carmichael Mine has been granted a mining lease by the Queensland Government. The only modelled CRDP development at pre-EIS approval stage is Hyde Park. There are no CSG projects in the Galilee subregion that are currently at the EIS approval stage.

Information is available on water management for the six most advanced coal development projects in the Galilee subregion. A more detailed description of these water management plans is in Section 2.1.6 of companion product 2.1-2.2 for the Galilee subregion (Evans et al., 2018). The common elements to all the water management plans as outlined in the various EIS documents are:

  • Mines and associated infrastructure areas are isolated from parts of the larger surface water river basins in which they occur by diversion drains at an early stage in the development process.
  • Any rain that falls within the mine area is kept on site and used for mine and coal processing water requirements as much as possible.
  • Any groundwater pumped out from mine workings is kept on site and used for mine and coal processing water requirements.
  • There will be progressive rehabilitation of mined-out areas as mining advances, so that the amount of surface area disconnected from a river basin due to mining may vary during life of mine.

There may be some provision for each of the mines to discharge excess mine water off site during surface water high-flow periods. However, details about the water management regime, monitoring and permitting conditions for each mine in the modelled CRDP are still being finalised and were not available as of February 2016.

Last updated:
17 December 2018