Sonoma Coal Mine

This case study involved an objection by the Queensland Conservation Council Inc (QCC) to the greenhouse emissions from a large coal mine proposed by QCoal Pty Ltd.

The proposed mine is an open cut coal mine known as the Sonoma Coal Project located 7 km south of the township of Collinsville in North Queensland.

The mine is expected to produce approximately 30 million tonnes (Mt) of product coal, primarily export coking coal used in steel production, with lesser amounts of thermal coal used in electricity production for both the export and domestic markets. The annual output is expected to be 2 Mt per annum, with an anticipated mine life of 15 years.

The greenhouse gas emissions from the full fuel cycle of the mining, transport and use of the 30 Mt of washed black coal from the mine for electricity production or steel production will be approximately 76.06 – 101.52 Mt of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2–e).

The total annual greenhouse gas emissions produced directly by Australia are currently approximately 550 Mt CO2–e, which is approximately 1.4% of greenhouse gas emissions globally.

QCC will contend that the greenhouse gas emissions from the mining, transport and use of the coal from the mine will contribute significantly to global warming and climate change unless offset by conditions to avoid, reduce or offset those emissions.

The objection was lodged on 8 November 2006 in the Queensland Land & Resources Tribunal.

However, QCC consented to end the case on 30 November to allow it to focus on the Xstrata Newlands Coal Mine Case and the LRT subsequently ordered the case be struck out.

Key documents in the case are:

  • Order that case be struck out.



Climate change litigation

(Presidian Legal Publications, 2006)