Environment & Sustainability

Coal mine at night

Responsible operations & positive contributions

At QCoal Group we are driven by a clear purpose to mine responsibly and make a positive contribution to the communities in which we operate. To accomplish this purpose, we’re fully committed to ethical business practices, transparency and compliance with our regulatory obligations.

QCoal Group strongly believes in the principles of environmental stewardship. And we acknowledge that embracing a proactive approach to sustainability and environmental management is needed to preserve and protect our natural surroundings and maintain our social licence to operate.

Embracing Our Role in Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Policy Principles

We implement measure and monitor our environmental commitments across our operations so we can actively meet all relevant legislative requirements. We minimise all waste products through our efficient use of materials and inputs. And we use sustainable or recycled products wherever possible.

We also provide annual public reporting of each of our sustainability initiatives to ensure transparency across our operations, with our stakeholders and in the community.

Environmental Authority

Once a mine is approved the Queensland Government issues the environmental authority. This serves as the licence under which the mine must operate. It also sets out the conditions for operating the mine.

At QCoal we are committed to adhering to the conditions of the environmental authority for each of our mines. We undertake regular monitoring to make sure we remain fully in line with those conditions.

If we find any instances where we haven’t met a condition of the environmental authority, we take immediate action to remedy the noncompliance. With noncompliance we could be at risk for prosecution, fines, stop orders or subject to a more detailed investigation.

We take our requirements seriously and will make every effort to remedy any situations that might arise.

Biodiversity Offsets

QCoal maintains a land holding of 1,952 hectares for biodiversity offsets. Biodiversity offsets are conservation activities that are taken to compensate or remedy the impacts of industry on an area of land.

In the case of mining, biodiversity offsets generally encompass actions such as weed control, pest management and limiting cattle access to safeguard endangered species in impacted areas.

Water Management

Water is essential for our mining operations, and maintaining water quality is essential for the areas in which we operate. To safeguard our water, our operations have Water Management Plans in place. These lay out applicable environmental regulations, and our plan and processes to meet the requirements of those regulations.

We implement measures like redirecting clean runoff, minimising on-site disturbances, rehabilitating areas to protect nearby rivers and tributaries and recycling water where safe, especially for coal preparation and dust control.

Progressive Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation restores mining sites to their natural state or repurposes them for another beneficial use. We believe this is an essential part of all responsible mining practices and of our own environmental stewardship.

Because of that we progressively rehabilitate mining areas as mining operations move from one pit to the next. We limit the number of residual voids on site and backfill progressively throughout mining operations. Topsoil stockpiles are maintained to ensure their stability until the topsoil is required for rehabilitation activities.

Overburden stockpiles – or unprocessed waste material – are also rehabilitated in line with the Post Mining Rehabilitation and Closure Plan for each site.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Decarbonisation

We take climate stewardship seriously. QCoal Group annually reports our greenhouse gas emissions and energy data to the Clean Energy Regulator in compliance with the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act.

We are also developing a decarbonisation strategy, that considers climate risks, supply chain impacts and carbon abatement opportunities with a focus on viability, impact and technology.

We use carbon offsets to complement on-site emission reductions and achieve compliance with relevant legislation.

Environmental Innovations

Dust suppression is an important part of environmental compliance at our operations. Sonoma Mine was one of the first mines in Queensland to use dust veneer on loaded trains to coat the surface of loaded wagons and reduce the impact of dust on local communities and the natural environment during transport. Coal trains in Queensland are now required to have a dust veneer applied before transport.

QCoal is working with a third-party waste supplier to explore the possibility of an on-site waste oil processing solution as a diesel substitute for blasting operations at our Byerwen mine. Based on current waste oil generation, the proposed diesel savings would amount to a carbon offset equivalent of 13,000 trees and diesel fuel savings of approximately $250,000 each year.

Download our 2023 sustainability report

First Nations

QCoal recognises the ongoing significance of First Nations people and their profound connection to the lands and resources on which we operate. We also recognise the important role of our operations in generating economic growth and lasting social impact in regional communities.

Through wages paid to employees in local communities, goods and services sourced through local and regional suppliers, community partnerships, ongoing sponsorships and taxes, royalties and levies paid to local, federal and state governments, the QCoal Group supports Australian communities and the individuals who call them home.

Community Engagement

We are committed to working closely with the Indigenous community and the mining industry as a whole to strengthen the communities in which we operate.

To do that we rely on obtaining the best information possible. So, community feedback plays an important role in planning and delivering QCoal Group projects. We are always keen to hear from members of the community – Indigenous and otherwise – about what is important to them.

Get in Touch

Operations

In all our operations we support cultural heritage preservation and strive to create sustainable economic opportunities. To do that we focus on meaningful engagement and consultation with Indigenous stakeholders.

QCoal Group’s Indigenous engagement strategy includes agreements with traditional landowners, cultural heritage training and initiatives for Indigenous employment and training.

Reconciliation

QCoal recognises that Indigenous reconciliation is essential for building resilient regional communities. We support and engage with the initiatives of our mining contractors for practical reconciliation outcomes which are focused on training, education and employment programs.

Community members and other stakeholders can provide their ideas and suggestions for working together by contacting our team on info@qcoal.com.au or 07 3002 2900.