QRC chief executive Michael Roche.
QRC chief executive Michael Roche. Contributed

QRC: Mining companies must deliver

TO KEEP the mining industry on side, Premier Campbell Newman will have to deliver certainty for those firms ready to deliver projects in Queensland.

In return, the mines will be expected to deliver not just environmentally-conscious operations, but also be mindful of the communities they develop in.

It is a deal that Queensland Resources Council boss Michael Roche put to a copper conference held in Brisbane this week.

The peak body has more than 240 members in its fold.

Mr Roche said mining companies must deliver "world's best" environmental and social outcomes to keep up its end of the bargain.

"The future is not about minimum standards and ticking compulsory boxes," Mr Roche said at the meeting.

"The new State Government is laying down a clear challenge and I have every confidence that the QRC and its members are up for that challenge."

To ignore community concerns, he said, was to risk more regulation in an industry already rich in red tape.

It was also to risk the ire and mobilisation of a community against them, something that can now be delivered swiftly as groups begin forming more on Facebook and Twitter.

"(Resource) explorers can find themselves fighting sophisticated anti-development campaigns in far less time than it takes to make an initial gravity survey."

However, to punctuate his warnings, Mr Roche cited three firms - including BMA - for commissioning "15 independent scientific studies" as part of expanding the Abbot Point Coal Terminal near Airlie Beach.

"This is what I and others regard as a new benchmark in environmental reporting," he said.

"It seeks to answer the questions on most people's minds and it does so openly and honestly."

The Greens have previously demanded Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke reject the expansion plan because the terminal could put the Great Barrier Reef at risk.

Mr Roche told the meeting these 15 environmental studies "will be made available for public comment then submitted to the Australian and Queensland governments for consideration".

"(They) are asking the project to be judged on its merits," he said of the companies involved.

"Not hysterical claims from green groups."