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Approval of Shenhua’s watermark project

09/07/2015

Rational evaluation of mining projects provides the necessary foundation for development of Australia’s mineral resources.

The Australian minerals industry has a vital stake in ensuring environmental assessment and approvals processes at all levels of government in Australia are science-based, comprehensive and effective.

The robust legal framework for the Commonwealth’s approval processes was again demonstrated in the case of the decision by the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to approve Shenhua’s Watermark project, subject to 18 strict conditions and based on independent expert advice, including on agricultural water supply.

The minerals industry is a comparatively small user of water nationally, at less than 3 per cent of national consumption. The industry nonetheless recognises it can be a significant water user at a local or regional level.

The potential impacts on water from coal mining are thoroughly assessed under both state and Commonwealth approval processes, including independent expert review. Mining proponents must then meet a range of strict conditions before and during mining which ensures environmental values are safeguarded.