Bravus, activists row over pollution claim

Fraser Barton
·2-min read

Activists want Queensland's government to urgently investigate claims of pollution and environmental damage by Bravus on its Carmichael mine rail corridor.

The Mackay Conservation Group alleges Bravus' poor site management during the wet season has resulted in serious pollution impacting on water quality flowing into the surrounding wetlands, and Great Barrier Reef.

They fear continued breaches combined with a likely forecast of flooding and heavy rainfall in the project area will cause even more damage.

Bravus, formerly known as Adani, disputes the accusations, saying its sites are compliant with their conditions and environmental obligations.

However, MCG alleges conditions imposed by the Queensland Coordinator General on Adani's North Galilee Basin Rail Project to protect nearby waterways from contamination may have been breached.

The conditions require the development and implementation of erosion and sediment control measures.

Lawyers for Environmental Justice Australia, on behalf of MCG, have submitted a letter to Queensland's environment minister urging an immediate investigation into Adani's flood mitigation failures and sediment control breaches.

In the letter, it refers to Adani's history of non-compliance with environmental regulations and includes photographs allegedly showing pollution from stormwater flooding.

In December 2020, Adani was fined by the federal environment department for not implementing the approved species management plan and breaching its federal environmental approval for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project.

Similarly, a 2019 report for the Isaac Regional Council found that the erosion and sediment controls in place were not sufficiently appropriate for the site.

EJA lawyer Ariane Wilkinson said Adani continued to show a blatant disregard for environmental laws and regulation in Australia.

"Adani cannot be trusted to protect our air, water and wildlife from damage caused by the construction of their mine, and certainly not to protect World Heritage sites like our Great Barrier Reef," she said in a statement on Friday.

"To continue to let Adani operate in Australia with their shocking track record of not complying with the laws that protect our air, water and wildlife, is grossly irresponsible."

Bravus rejects the allegations, saying it hasn't received any information or communications from the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

"The Carmichael Project takes our environmental obligations seriously and we have erosion and sediment control measures in place at all of our construction sites, to ensure we comply with our environmental approvals for daily operations and extreme weather events," it said.

The mining company also addressed the photo evidence by EJA in their report which showed the stormwater flooding, stating the photos were taken illegally.

"Flooding or significant movement of water across the site, does not mean we are not compliant with our conditions," Bravus said.

"We monitor all our environmental controls frequently, including during periods of heavy rain such as those in January, and we believe all of them to be operating in accordance with our conditions."