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Coalmine approvals in Australia this year could add 150m tonnes of CO2 to atmosphere

Expansion of metallurgical coalmine in Queensland will add 31m tonnes alone with activists accusing Albanese government of being reckless

Coalmine expansions and developments approved in Australia so far this year are expected to add nearly 150m tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere over their lifetimes – equivalent to nearly a third of the country’s annual climate pollution.

The Albanese government this week gave the greenlight to an expansion of the Gregory Crinum coalmine in central Queensland. It produces metallurgical coal, used in steelmaking.

Approving a nine-year extension of the Ensham thermal coalmine, creating fuel for power plants. The Australia Institute’s coalmine tracker found it was likely to lead to 106m tonnes of additional emissions over its life.

Approving the creation of a small new mine, the Isaac River metallurgical coalmine, also in Queensland. It is expected to produce almost entirely metallurgical coal and lead to about 7m tonnes of emissions across its seven-year life.

Ruling a proposed extraction of a large sample, known as a “bulk sample”, of coal at the proposed Star coalmine site did not need formal assessment under federal environment law to go ahead. The proponent can dig up 1.5m tonnes of coal before applying to develop the full mine. It is expected to lead to about 3m tonnes of emissions.

Extending the life of the Lake Vermont open cut coalmine until 2063. This decision did not increase the total amount of coal that could be mined, just its potential lifespan.

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