Sunday, May 28, 2017

Coalmine Health Risks – Aldershot

Posted by Jim on July 3, 2010

Briefing material
[This material may be added to]

Mr. Mark Turner, Northern Energy Corporation:
“Some people are worried about the dust causing asthma but the particular size particle that causes asthma will generally fall out (of the air) before it gets to Aldershot” Fraser Coast Chronicle, 24 June 2010

Comment by Dr. Dick van Steenis MBBS, UK expert on coal mine pollution

The position of Mr. Mark Turner of Northern Energy claiming to be the confident Mr. Fix-it is untenable because he appears totally ignorant of the laws of physics, chemistry, asthma and physiology for starters. He needs to learn that the size of particle that causes asthma is smaller than 2.5 microns, namely PM2.5, and these rise in the air and travel at least 3 miles (4.8km) with those living within 3.2km very badly at risk. That means that Aldershot will be very badly hit.

The vehicles & mining produce lots of PM1 and PM2.5 particles. At Brighton UK in 2007, four earth-moving machines produced a week average of PM1s of 253ug/m3 and of PM2.5s 163ug/m3. The “safe” level of these sizes is around 7ug/m3 and USA/Canada/Japan annual limit of PM2.5s is 15ug/m3.

Studies in Derbyshire and Gwaun-cae- Gurwen revealed 33% of children get asthma 1 mile from an opencast (proved by peakflow measurements etc). At 2 miles 21% of children developed asthma and 12% at 3 miles. These figures are consistent with spirometry of 900 children in the Hunter Valley NSW.

These fine particles produced by the vehicles by emissions and what is thrown up also cause COPD, heart attacks, depression, chronic invalidity and cancers. I attach my 4 page report and 364 references. These will reveal Mr. Turner’s belief in no “health risk” is just deception. Its not a matter of “fear of the unknown” but proven wrecking of the population’s health for financial gain.

In West Virginia USA a recent study found the health damage and premature deaths cost more than the value of the coal. I suggest sceptics travel to Merthyr Tydfil in Wales UK to see opencasting of coal at its worst. Will the company pay for all those within 3 miles to be rehoused as the solution in addressing legitimate “concerns”?? The death rate in the Hunter Valley is 37% above the average for Australia—that could easily be replicated in Queensland.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Coal Mining and towns don’t mix

Posted by Jim on June 23, 2010

I refer to the announcement by Colton Coal Mine’s Managing Director, Keith Barker announcement that the mine would go ahead [“Fraser Coast Chronicle” 22 June 2010].

Residents in Maryborough would be advised to look at the experience of Singleton in the Upper Hunter Valley before they got too excited about the prospect of a mine outside the town.

The affect on children’s respiratory health in Singleton is that one in four children experience problems, almost twice the national average for respiratory problems in children of one in nine.

The affect on public health in Singleton reflects experience in mining communities overseas and there have been many research papers that have confirmed that the proximity of coal mines to a community will have an effect on public health for both adults and children.

The community at Aldershot have done their homework on this, which is why they have opposed the mine. The Colton Coal Mine will be a mere three kilometres from the town.

It is surprising that Warren Truss, the member for the Federal electorate of Wide Bay has been quiet on the issue. Large open-cut mines in remote Queensland are one matter. A two hundred metre deep mine close to cities on the Coast is another. Especially when the estimated reserves will mean many decades of mining.

When the Queensland Government considers Northern Energy Corporation’s application they will have to choose whether mining royalties are more important than the communities of Wide Bay and Maryborough. I look forward to Mr Truss’s comments on the mine.

Federal Environment Minister, Mr Peter Garrett might likewise consider the impact on the immediate environment, as he did with Traveston Dam.

Letter to Fraser Coast Chronicle: 22 June 2010, Published 28 June 2010

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Patient trips show need for real hospital reform

Posted by Jim on

The fact that Maryborough patients have to travel to Maryborough for dialysis treatment is indicative of the need for real reform of the hospital system in the Wide bay Electorate according to the Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald.

“Dialysis patients often need more than one session a week and travelling up and down the Bruce Highway for treatment is appalling, especially when patients requiring dialysis are feeling unwell.

“The neglect of health is also felt in the west of the electorate. Cancer patients in towns like Murgon and Goomeri have to take a return journey of up to 500 kilometres to Toowoomba for some cancer treatments and tests. That is not a system that is designed for patients.

“Free transport offered dialysis patients by the Queensland Minister for Health is not the central issue. Patient well-being is what it should be about and long, arduous trips for treatment or tests fail that criterion.

“Hospital and clinical resources in the whole of the Wide Bay electorate are poorly organised and it amounts to Government neglect of public patients.”

Dr McDonald said that the Rudd Government’s so-called health reforms must address the question of access to health services.

“Patients need reform rather than rhetoric. Real reform will drive an upgrade of Maryborough and Gympie hospitals to improve services across the electorate.

“Pressure on one hospital is a pressure on all the hospitals in our region. With population growth pushing up from the Sunshine Coast into Gympie, the situation will escalate.

“Communities need to have confidence that the smaller hospitals are not under any threat and expansion of services in the larger hospitals should reduce the need for trips to Brisbane except in cases of the highest medical emergency.”

“Real reform will address the present inequality of health service delivery in our region compared with the metropolitan area.

“But when Mr Rudd travelled to regional Queensland with health hand-outs, he ignored the electorate. Wide Bay is not a marginal Labor seat.

Media Release: 22 June 2010; letter published, Gympie Times, 23 June 2010

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Greens say Northern Energy Corporation’s announcement to shelve Colton Coal Mine is not credible

Posted by Jim on June 4, 2010

The Greens Wide Bay candidate, Dr Jim McDonald, said today that he would believe Northern Energy Corporation had shelved the Colton Coal Mine project when there was evidence that the company had withdrawn its application for a mining licence.

He was commenting on a statement by NEC Managing Director, Keith Barker, on the ABC that the 40% super tax would make the mine non-viable.

Dr McDonald said NEC were grandstanding and attempting to hold the community to ransom.

“The company has reported up to 100 million tons of coal. That is not a marginal investment for a greenfields coalmining company.

“The fact that the Colton Coal Mine had ridden roughshod over the residents of Aldershot shows how seriously they were prepared to commence digging the mine as soon as a mining licence was granted. They glossed over the impact on the health of children living near the mine.

“They didn’t do that for a marginal investment and Mr Barker’s statement does not compute with the company’s latest ASX statement.

“NEC told the ASX in its April report of its intention to extend the resource of hard coking coal and increase the size of the mine development in parallel with the initial establishment of the open-cut mine.

“NEC is blatantly supporting Warren Truss and Tony Abbott and their opposition to the mining tax. Mr Barker has joined in a concerted, self-interested political campaign by the mining industry against the Rudd mining tax.

“The Rudd government had botched the introduction of the tax, and tripped itself up in spin, but the idea of a proper return to the Treasury on Australian resources was correct.”

Dr McDonald said that the State Government should reject the mining lease application. The best result for anyone living within 10 kilometres of the proposed mine is that it should not go ahead at all.

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The Arts and Wide Bay Issues – Interview Noosa Community Radio

Posted by Jim on May 30, 2010

From Noosa Community radio:

Sometime this year there’s going to be a national election, and those chasing seats in Canberra are throwing their hats in the ring. Most of our audience probably live in the electorate of Wide Bay, which covers Weyba Downs and Peregian Beach in the southeast, Fraser Island in the northeast, from Booubyjan in the northwest to the township of Cherbourg in the southwest and Bella Creek in the south. Since March 1990 – that’s 20 years – the seat has been held by Warren Truss, leader of The Nationals, who held various ministries in the Howard government for 10 years. You’d be forgiven for thinking Warren owns Wide Bay. Enter David to challenge Goliath: Greens candidate, Jim McDonald, who’s started stomping the electorate. At a recent little gathering here in The J, next door to us, he put his case for more funding of the arts in the regions – that’s us, for example. That, of course, is not the former union official, teacher and jack of a few more trades’ only platform. I asked him why he was emphasising the arts.

Download MP3 recording of interview with Diet Simon, Interview recorded 2 May 2010

Noosa Community Radio

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Queensland: Beautiful one day, open-cut coalmines the next

Posted by Jim on May 29, 2010

Coal survey maps suggest that large swathes of land from Bundaberg to the Mary Valley could end up as open-cut coal mines. This is adjacent to, and in some cases covers, tourist areas, sensitive environmental areas including watercourses and wetlands, State forests, national parks and viable farmland. It extends to the Mary Valley and the Mary River. Figure 1 is a map of the various coal basins in South-East Queensland.

Figure 1: Coal Basins in South-East Queensland

Source: http://www.dme.qld.gov.au/zone_files/coal_files_pdf/se_qld_coal_map_08.pdf,
accessed 24 May 2010

Figure 1 shows very clearly that the Maryborough Basin intrudes upon Bundaberg and Maryborough and extends as far south as Gympie and into the Mary Valley.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Greens support Aldershot residents in opposing coal mine

Posted by Jim on May 27, 2010

The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Jim McDonald, told a meeting of the Maryborough Greens campaign team at a briefing on the weekend that Maryborough would soon be surrounded by a number of coalmines.

Open-cut coalmines will change Hervey Bay and Maryborough forever,” he said.Colton Coal Mine, the first of the mines, operated by Northern Energy Corporation, will be dug three kilometres from the town of Aldershot, a few kilometres north of Maryborough.

The people of Aldershot are in the front line of the worst of these changes, which will be 24 hour operations, dust, noise and lights at the mine all night, property devaluation, the destruction of the amenity of the area, and the consequent effects on their health.”

Dr McDonald met with the Aldershot and Districts Against Mining committee for two hours on Saturday afternoon and heard first-hand the fears of the town for the future of their children’s health.

He said that if the Colton Coal Mine had been operating last Friday, when the winds blew all afternoon from the east and north-east, Aldershot would have experienced dust and noise of draglines and the huge mining trucks. Toxic dust would have landed on the roofs of houses, which rely on tank water.

Candidate with AADAM Committee, Campaign Director & member of Greens Maryborough Campaign Committee

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Colton coal mine will turn Aldershot into a mining town

Posted by Jim on May 18, 2010

It is bad enough when coal mining in Queensland and NSW is allowed by State and Governments to ruin prime agricultural land.

When coalmining threatens to destroy the lifestyle of the 500 residents of Aldershot, just north of Maryborough, it’s time to call a halt.

The escalation of open-cut coal mining is creating environmental and social problems as well as alienating agricultural land. The Colton mine has not yet started, but it will be to the detriment of Aldershot and its residents. The mine will be only 3 kilometres from the village. The Colton project will turn Aldershot and the north of Maryborough into a coalmining town.

This is an example of mining moving from remote regions of the state to more intensively settled areas like Maryborough and Hervey Bay.

Mining coal so close to established towns will also cause health problems. A 2008 study of the effect of coalmining in West Virginia in the USA found that the incidence of chronic illness in coalmining communities grows as coal production increases1.

Coalmining produces carbon dioxide, methane and sulphuric acid as well as dust and will interfere with the water table. The mine will put pressure on water resources in the region. There are wetlands, which the Colton mine will also affect, as well as the Susan River which flows into the Mary River estuary.

Initially the developer, Northern Energy Corporation, told the community in April this year that mining would last 8 to 10 years. That estimate did not add up. In February, the estimated reserve was reported as being 57.4 million tons. NEC says that it will be shipping out 500,000 tonnes of coal a year once the open-cut mine starts up. Do the maths: the mine is good for a century as it spreads to the northern suburbs of Maryborough.

Planning legislation must stop open cut coal mines devastating agricultural areas, near residential areas or near environmentally sensitive areas, especially given the industry’s appalling record on environmental management and site rehabilitation.

1. M Hendryx and M Ahern, “Relations between Health Indicators and Residential Proximity to Coal Mining in West Virginia,” April 2008, The American Journal of Public Health.

Thanks for contribution to this post by Drew Hutton

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Greens anticipate no Budget joy for Wide Bay

Posted by Jim on May 10, 2010

The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald, said that he didn’t expect the budget would bring much joy to the electorate.

He said the Government’s performance so far had left Wide Bay voters in the lurch.

“Where is the improvement of health services? Gympie and Maryborough hospitals need to be upgraded to service the region and take pressure off Nambour Hospital. Mr Rudd’s Health tour bypassed the electorate.

“Public patients in the west of the electorate have to travel to Toowoomba Hospital for some health services.

“This is a ludicrous arrangement that represents a failure of the Rudd and Howard Governments and the State Government.

“The region needs a decent rail system to connect it to the rest of South-east Queensland, but will Mr Swan deliver the necessary infrastructure funds?” he asked

“There is little evidence of planning for the Mary Valley. The ill-conceived Traveston Dam project ripped apart the the Mary Valley. The Federal Government needs to step in and ensure that the region becomes the food bowl for South-East Queensland. The lack of planning means no budget allocation.

“This is an immediate priority for managing food security in the face of climate change. But, the Rudd Government appears to have dropped its bundle on meaningful climate change measures.”

Dr McDonald said that a productive Mary Valley would also provide sorely needed jobs for the region.

“A responsible Budget would take a whole of region approach to sustainable job creation, infrastructure support, and improvement of services.

“There is little evidence of that,” he said.

Media Release 10 May 2009

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MEDIA LAUNCH STATEMENT: Jim McDonald for Wide Bay

Posted by Jim on April 30, 2010

I am pleased to be working with the team to elect Larissa Waters to the Senate. I expect her to be the first Greens Senator in Queensland.

She will make a quality Senator when she joins the competent women senators in the Greens who have made a significant contribution to the job of governance of this country.

Launch 30/4/10

Greens Senate Candidate Larissa Waters and Wide Bay Candidate Jim McDonald talking to the cameras


I have spent the last several weeks talking to people in the Wide Bay electorate from Murgon to Tin Can Bay and from Noosa to Maryborough.

It will be my task as the Greens candidate to bring to the fore the issues that are important to the people in the electorate.

People are sick of the spin doctors. The Greens’ polling on Climate Change makes it quite clear that people want action not spin. They want straight talking not weasel words. They want a vision for Australia not protection of vested interests. WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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