Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cape York Coal Rush?

The Australian has reported today on a recent "rush" of applications for coal exploration on Cape York. There may be a certain amount of hyperbole in this and much of the story concerns calls from the Wilderness Society to ban coal mining on Cape York: Huge dirty coal mine planned for Cape York.

Many in the Far North may not be aware that there are coal deposits on Cape York mostly in the Laura Basin. Coal exploration here is not new and at one time exploration permits were held by BHP, which had been acquired in the takeover of Utah. Waratah Coal and MCI have held exploration leases for a few years now.

KS has a long backgrouund in the coal mining industry and recalls nostalgically a colleague who did some of the early exploration for BHP Utah. His assesssment was that there was not much potential at that time but always wrote a report recommending that they drill a few more holes during the next barramundi season.

The Cairns Post reports on the potential for underground mining with lesser environmental impacts than surface mining. This was a particular expertise for KS during a previous life and may update comments later.

Apart from environmental and logistical constraints there is a long queue of proposed coal mining developments elsewhere, and I doubt these are a high enough priority to see much actual mining anytime soon even if  approval could be obtained.

Note: This map is from the Wilderness Society. KS thinks someone should buy them a compass so they can tell east from west, or is this superceded technology in the GPS age?

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