Carabella Resources Limited today released an announcement to the ASX. In this announcement, Carabella kindly mentioned their expert team which assisted with their Bluff Project detailed Concept Study. MEMS was one of the companied referenced.
To read the announcement, go to the price sensitive announcements on the ASX website and search for CLR.
Balancing effective yet flexible regulations to accommodate extreme climate conditions in Queensland is an ongoing challenge for regulators and operators alike. With the recent spate of severe weather conditions experienced throughout the country, laws governing water releases and water quality within the mining industry need to be re-evaluated to combat environmental disasters.
The recent flooding and torrential rain associated with ex- tropical Cyclone Oswald has disrupted production for many coal mines in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, including temporary closure of some mines. Record falls occurred across most of central Queensland prompting many mines to discharge water into local rivers. Many mines affected by this recent flooding have still not fully recovered from the widespread flooding during the 2007/2008 and 2010/2011 wet seasons, further compounding water accumulation issues for many mines.
The most recent series of rainfall events in the Bowen Basin demonstrate that sustainable mine water management in climates characterised by extreme variation provide a number of key challenges for regulators and operators within the mining industry. This has the potential to trigger review of current mine water regulations.
Prior to the 2007/2008 floods in the Bowen Basin, coal mine water discharges were regulated by conditions listed in each mines Environmental Authority, a regulatory instrument under the Environmental Protection Act 1994. The extreme rainfall events that occurred in 2007/2008 prompted the government to report on the cumulative impacts of mine water releases on water quality, particularly within the Fitzroy River Basin.
The reporting found that mine discharge requirements varied widely, were inconsistent between mines, water quality limits were inadequate to protect downstream environmental values, Electrical Conductivity limits varied widely and the timing of discharges was not linked to stream flow.
Consequently, the government introduced the draft Fitzroy model conditions in 2009 to standardise mine discharge requirements. The draft Fitzroy model conditions tightened mine discharge regulation and in some cases reduced mine water discharge opportunities.
The constraints of the draft Fitzroy model conditions prevented mines from reducing their water storages prior to the 2010/2011 floods resulting in a significant number of Transitional Environmental Program (TEP) applications to allow for additional mine water releases to avoid damage to infrastructure and recommencement of operations.
A review of the Fitzroy model conditions was undertaken in 2011 and offered greater flexibility to mine sites to reduce the reliance on TEPs for mine water management, whilst maintaining water quality objectives to protect downstream environmental values.
The new model conditions offered mine operators greater flexibility for site specific amendments to the conditions, relaxation of monitoring requirements during wet weather (if unsafe or inaccessible), a narrower definition of mine-affected water excluding some discharges all together and allowed higher volumes of mine water discharges during high stream flow events.
The 2011 amendments to the Fitzroy model conditions substantially improved mine water regulations and addressed issues associated with the initial 2009 draft conditions. However, the model conditions are not a panacea for sustainable mine water management in climates characterised by extreme variation.
The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) forecast that with the new model conditions in place, just under half those granted TEPs in the 2010/2011 floods would have to apply again if another rainfall event of the same magnitude occurred.
In the wake of ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald there are a number of mines in the Bowen Basin discharging mine waters into receiving rivers and creeks. EHP has been working in collaboration with the relevant mines to ensure these releases are managed and controlled accordingly.
In November 2012 EHP issued amended environmental authorities to four coal mines located in central Queensland to conduct a pilot of enhanced mine water release during the 2012/2013 wet season.
The recent flooding and torrential rain associated with ex-tropical Cyclone Oswald initiated the commencement of the trial on Friday 8 February 2013 with releases into the Isaac River. The trial aims to safely dilute saline-rich mine water and will be closely regulated with downstream water quality monitored by EHP and the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
Balancing effective yet flexible regulations to accommodate extreme climate conditions is an ongoing challenge for regulators and operators alike. The mining sector and government regulators have learnt significant and difficult lessons over the recent series of extreme weather events.
Although significant reforms have been made to mine discharge regulations there is an urgent need to develop better long-term solutions to managing water on mine sites in the Bowen Basin considering significant quantities continue to accumulate onsite.
This month, Australia celebrates Keep Australia Beautiful in which communities across the country dedicate not just one day but one week to cleaning up our country. In the week commencing Monday 20 August, the Keep Australia Beautiful program will target motorists/ holidaymakers littering along our roads and highways. Roadsides have been ranked second to industrial sites in the volume of litter found in these areas.
While rubbish is unsightly to look at, it can also have a number of flow on effects. Lit cigarette butts can cause bushfires as well as be harmful to animals if ingested. Litter on the side of the road can easily enter our waterways and cause harm to animals and pollute our oceans.
The Keep Australia Beautiful program aims for a litter free and sustainable environment. Through its many initiatives, (eg advertising campaigns (eg Dob in a Litterer), school participation, competitions and working with large companies eg Coca-Cola) the program increases awareness of important environmental issues.
So what can you do to help? Here are some simple tips for reducing your litter while travelling:
Remember – in order to reduce the amount of litter in our environment, we need to integrate litter-reducing techniques into our day-to-day lives. Follow the simple motto: reduce, reuse and recycle and Keep Australia Beautiful!
Have you or your business done anything recently to lessen your carbon footprint on the environment? Well, 29 July can be your lucky day with National Tree Day taking place in communities across Australia. National Tree Day is an annual event that allows communities, businesses, councils and individuals to make positive environmental change and reconnect with nature in their local communities. Last year, National Tree Day helped thousands of Australians plant over 1 million native trees, shrubs and grasses at more than 2900 events around the country.
There are many ways that your business can take part in this event. Involvement can serve either as a company’s team building and project management exercise, an opportunity to build stronger community roots by working with various local organisations or purely a way to make a positive impact on the community and environment. By participating in this event, you and your company will not only help green your community, but you will also promote biodiversity by planting of native flora which works towards combating global climate change.
You can get involved through one of these seven ways!
For more information on how your company can get involved, please visit: http://treeday.planetark.org/businesses/ or call 1300 88 5000.
A Green Economy – How Does Australia Compare?
World Environment Day (WED) is an event occurring every year on 5 June with a goal of promoting positive environmental awareness and action around the world. This year’s theme revolves around the notion of a Green Economy. This is defined as an economy whose growth is fuelled by investments that reduce carbon emissions, promote energy and resource efficiency and prevents the loss of biodiversity.
With WED steadily approaching, let’s reflect on how Australia has made significant strides towards achieving the status of a Greener Economy. The major legislative tool influencing this change comes in the form of The Clean Energy Legislative Package effective 1 July 2012, which puts a price on carbon and requires 500 of Australia’s major polluters to monetarily pay for their emissions. The legislative aim is to spark an economic transformation that will create incentives to reduce emissions and invest in clean energy.
While there has been much controversy over this legislation, the resource industries across Australia will be assisted as follows:
To find out more about the Clean Energy Legislation and how your company will be affected, check out http://www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/.
Throughout the last few months, Queensland politics has filled the news with the highly publicised battle for the title of Queensland Premier. The historic election in March resulted in a landslide victory for Mr Newman, leader of the LNP. This has left the Labour Party with only seven of its previous 51 parliamentary seats, shifting the majority of power into the hands of the LNP with 78 seats.
With this significant change to the government, it is important to ask how the resources industry and the overall environment will ultimately be affected.
Within Mr Newman’s short time as Premier to date, he has already pledged to reshuffle the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) and the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) in order to speed up the approvals process for mining related activities. As of 30 March 2012, the functions of the former DERM have been reorganised into the following departments:
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed Mr Newman’s changes and is seeking early meetings with the new Premier and ministers to discuss the implementation of potential policies that will affect the resources industry.
As it would appear, big changes are in store for the future of the Queensland State Government and the overall environment. Be sure to keep up to date with how it might affect you, your company and your surroundings!
It seems July 1 2012 is going to be a momentous day for industry and households alike, with both the Mining Tax (recently passed through the Senate on 19 March 2012) and the Carbon Tax to come into effect. There has been much commentary in the media on how this will impact Australians, however, it is important to look at the facts.
1. The Carbon Pricing Mechanism is aimed at 500 businesses Australia wide that generate over 25,000 tonnes of CO2-e emissions each year.
2. Of those 500 businesses, 100 are in coal or other mining industries.
3. If you are one of those businesses, you will have to register under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting System and are required to report emissions and surrender permits to match your emissions.
4. Cost is initially set to $23 per tonne of carbon released into the atmosphere which will gradually increase until 2015 when an emissions trading scheme comes into play.
5. For households, this means an increase in the price of certain goods to encourage the purchasing of more environmentally friendly products, however, compensation is offered. To calculate the cost and compensation for your household, visit https://www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/helping-households/household-assistance-estimator/.
6. Businesses will also be compensated to ensure they remain strong in the competitive international market. The most emissions-intensive and trade-exposed activities will receive 94.5% shielding from the carbon price, with other companies receiving 66% depending on how carbon intensive their production is. More incentives for companies can be found at: http://www.carbontax.net.au/industry-assistance/.
With three months until the new financial year, we still have a long time before we see changes to industry and households. However, the real question here is will it have any impact on Australia’s carbon emissions? All will be revealed.
We might not give a second thought to the sight of weeds along a waterway, however, chances are, those plants are affecting our lives in some way. While it’s commonly known that weeds have a significant impact on the environment, weeds can also impact on the money in your pocket, your work environment, your health and your lifestyle.
Weeds are estimated to cost the Australian Economy $4 billion per annum. Aquatic weeds contribute to this by affecting water quality and irrigation water. An additional $4 billion per annum is spent on weed management due to the negative impacts on nature conservation, tourism and landscape amenity.
Growth of aquatic weeds can provide excellent breeding conditions for mosquitoes and diseases, such as malaria and Ross River fever, can impact on both human health and the economy. Infestations in drinking water reservoirs can have a significant impact on drinking water quality and increase the costs of water treatment.
Aquatic weeds can also impact on our recreational lifestyle by preventing boating and water sports and increase clogging of waterways. The environmental effects on fish species can also significantly reduce the value of fishing spots.
Preventing the spread of weeds may seem difficult, but here are a few tips:
- Start at the source – seed dispersal is aided by the river, many weeds are transported along waterways from infestations upstream so begin removal upstream;
- Plant and encourage native plants in your garden;
- Plant trees along the river bank to reduce the availability of light to weeds;
- Wash down boats after being in the river; and
- Minimise nutrient loads and disturbance to waterways.
So the next time you are thinking of adding a non-native plant to the garden, think twice. The people who introduced the cane toad thought they were doing the right thing too.
Do you have a project in the pipeline where environmental impacts are unavoidable? If so, you may be required to offset the damage under the State Governments new Biodiversity Offset Policy.
The policy, which came into force on 3 October 2011, has been designed to ensure development occurs with no net loss of biodiversity. Where areas of ‘State significant biodiversity values’ are damaged, the developer must either allocate an equivalent area of land for protection or provide an offset payment.
Development affected by the policy includes level 1 mining, petroleum and gas projects, Environmentally Relevant Activities, development in the coastal zone and earthworks in a wetland protection area. A biodiversity offset may be set as a condition of approval where it can be proved that the environmental impact is unavoidable. In most cases, development for urban purposes within an urban area will not require an offset.
The process works by identifying a regional ecosystem of equivalent size and biodiversity value as the proposed area to be cleared or damaged. The identified area must then be legally secured and managed, ensuring its biodiversity is protected from future development. The developer can choose to undertake this privately or provide an offset payment for it to be carried out by a third party.
Habitats which may contain State significant biodiversity values include, but are not limited to, wetlands, watercourses, eucalypt and melaleuca forests, rainforest, remnant scrub, native grassland, mangroves and brigalow woodlands.
To find out if your project may impact on any of these habitats, visit the Department of Environment and Resource Management website or contact a qualified environmental consultant.
The population of Queensland has grown substantially in recent times and at the same time mining exploration activities have been increasing. As the buffer between the urban areas and exploration activities decreases, communities and local government are becoming increasingly concerned about exploration activities close to urban areas.
As a result, in August 2011, the Queensland Government announced a temporary freeze on new applications for mining exploration in urban areas.
In order to protect the interests of those living in urban and semi-rural areas, the State Government has declared certain areas as ‘Restricted Area’ under the Mineral Resources Act 1989. Restricted Areas are as follows:
Towns within the Restricted Area in the Bowen Basin include:
As a result of the declaration, the State Government will not accept applications for any exploration permits within the Restricted Areas. The declaration will impact on any new mineral and coal exploration permit application excluding industrial minerals (inc. clay, quartz, sandstone).
Additionally, holders of exploration tenures will be requested to voluntarily surrender areas from their tenure within the Restricted Areas.
These restrictions are intended as a temporary measure to ease the concerns of communities. The State Government aims to develop a permanent solution with local governments, communities and industry stakeholders.