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Dramatic rise reported in CQ coal dust emissions

NEW figures released by the National Pollutant Inventory for 2014-15 show a dramatic rise in particle emissions from Central Queensland coal mines over the past five years.

Analysis performed by the Clean Air Action Network shows that the Dawson mines, which are ranked fourth nationally out of more than 100 mines for PM10 emissions, recorded a 113% rise in those emissions over the past five years.

PM10 emissions consist of particulate matter 10 micrometers or less in diameter, which are responsible for a variety of adverse health effects.

Callide mine ranks seventh nationally and recorded a 324% increase in PM10 emissions over the same five-year period.

Central Queensland contains the nine top mines for PM10 emissions, and produces roughly 70% of those emissions nationally.

Environmental Justice Australia researcher Dr James Whelan said there was a "quite extraordinary situation" in Central Queensland coalfields.

"There are 14 air monitors in the Hunter Valley, but there is not one in the Central Queensland coalfields," Dr Whelan said.

"Our network, which includes groups in Queensland, feel that there is a responsibility there for the Queensland Government to put in place the kind of (monitoring) network that NSW has," he said.

Particulate emissions levels are currently self-monitored and reported to the government by mine operators.

A spokesperson for Anglo American, which owns Callide mine and a controlling stake in the Dawson mines, said the National Pollutant Inventory used assumptions and formulas which were not consistent across mine sites or companies, and "it is important to understand that the process is continually refined".

They said Anglo was committed to "effective dust mitigation measures on site" including watering down equipment after use and analysing weather patterns before blasting to minimise the impact to the environment.

Topics:  anglo american callide mine coal dust coal mining dawson mine


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