cover image: The hidden costs of coalmines’ unquenchable thirst 2


The hidden costs of coalmines’ unquenchable thirst 2

27 Mar 2024

Water take Refers to the volume of water extracted Water use Refers to the volume of water used by The hidden costs of coalmines’ unquenchable thirst 6 Executive Summary Coalmining is the most water-intensive mining process in Australia. [...] Unlike other mining, where some of the high water requirements are due to the energy intensity of their mining processes, and replacing the source of energy generation can significantly decrease a mine’s water footprint, coalmines will continue to require large volumes of water in coal handling and preparation plants and for mandatory use in dust suppression. [...] Failure to comply with relevant regulations can result in financial penalties under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 199926 in Queensland, and in NSW under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979,27 the Mining Act 199228 and the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.29 Therefore, while coalmines can invest in more water recycling to increase reticulated water for dust s. [...] A 2014 study by Global Water Intelligence found that water infrastructure spending to improve access and efficient water use increased by 252% between 2009-2013, while mine production increased only between 20-52% in the same period.37 Water access Coalmine operators in Australia can access and use water legally through a water access licence or licence exemption and through basic landholder right. [...] General security licences are the most susceptible to seasonal climatic variations.42,43 Water use by the mining industry in Australia can also be regulated separately from the water entitlement system or water supply utilities that provide water for other users.44 Coalmine granted unlimited water until 2077 The Queensland government granted an unlimited 60-year water licence to the Carmichael min.


Shane Brady

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United States of America