Pinocchio Moments from New Hope Community Reference Group!

Well…just when we thought a February meeting statement from the New Hope handpicked and carefully orchestrated CRG took the prize ‘there are no health impacts from coal and we will provide a fact sheet to prove it!’ there is another whopper in the May minutes. In response to a question about off site water discharge from the Acland mining operations, Manager Jim Randall replied:

‘The only water to leave the site was in evaporation or in the coal after washing’

Do they really think people are that gullible? OCAA has written to the Chair of the group, Professor Cuthill to highlight what are common practices at Acland (and most other Queensland mines). When heavy rains occur such as January 2011 and Jan 2013 New Hope pumped water from their full environmental dams into Lagoon Creek (which flows through farmland and the township of Jondaryan into Oakey Creek and hence the Condamine and Murray Darling systems). The Qld government give mining companies permission to perform such water and land pollution  after a little ‘creek side test’ by the company of water pH and electrical conductivity ‘proving’ the water is safe …

In our letter we showed photos of the 10 days worth of pumping during January 2013 (the rainfall hardly warranted any pumping, let alone that duration-they obviously wanted their mine water storage emptied out while they could). We also showed filthy, black, disgusting looking storm water running out of the Jondaryan coal dump site to enter Lagoon Creek. Furthermore we included the company’s own Stage 3 Terms of Reference Water Management Overview Flow Chart showing water handling at Acland (Fig 12 of TOR). There is a section of this chart clearly labelled ‘off site water discharges!’

Now if we are getting really picky we could have included photos of the January 2012 discharges of coal straight into the Brisbane River at New Hope’s bulk handling facility, for which the company  received nothing more than a light tap on the wrist from DEHP and a note to continue to use hay bales to block the disgorgement of coal if required. We wondered whether the couple of hay bales used (small ones, mind you), originated from New Acland Pastoral?? A nice cost cutting measure from the ‘low cost coal miner’ there!

Note to the Shareholders of Washington H. Soul Pattinson (including the Pharmacy, Health and Beauty Chain) and New Hope Coal: Our communities demand much better care of our farms, communities, soil and waterways. We also expect the truth.

We reiterate : OCAA sees no benefit in meeting with this group-  its prime purpose (and belated timing) is to tick a box for the Coordinator General in an attempt to gain Stage 3 approval. We offer words of warning to Jimbour Action Group or any other  farming community unfortunate enough to be in the cross hairs of this company…