Mine water releases 'standard practice': Powell

THE pumping of billions of litres worth of mine water into surging rivers has been dismissed as a "drop in the ocean" by the State Government even as final figures remain unclear.

Following sharp accusations from environmentalist groups, Minister for Environment Andrew Powell hit back, saying the 5.71 billion litres - or 5710 mega litres - of discharged mine water made up just 0.36% of the water rushing through Rockhampton and about the same at Yatton in the Isaac River.

Mr Powell said in the same period, the waterways had pumped 1,600,000ML.

Government documents suggest at least 35 instances of mines have pumped mine water into the Fitzroy River since the start of 2013, where the department lists the total volume released as "to be announced".

A spokesman for Mr Powell's department said the minister was confident the water being pumped from these mines would meet environmental standards.

The releases are allowed through the mines' environmental approvals, with companies required to tell the State if it breaches any of those conditions.

He said the state was investigating one major Central Queensland mine after it released water into a nearby creek without permission.

Its dam was overflowing as a result of rain from ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.

The speed of the river's flow and the low-levels of salt in the mine water meant the state government was confident this too would not prove an environmental issue.

Mr Powell described claims made by Green groups, that the releases were contributing to flooding in Central Queensland, as baseless and hysterical.

"Not only are these statements factually incorrect and misleading, they are an opportunistic grab for attention at a time when people are in genuine need of assistance during a major flood event," he said.

He said mines were permitted to release water during times of high water flows as long as the water becomes diluted and the quality maintained.

"This has been standard practice for many years."



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