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BREC URGENT ALERT SANDMINE THREAT TO MORETON BAY

On the 8th of August BREC became aware that consultants WBM were circulating a letter calling for comment on a draft terms of reference for mining the Northern Banks of Moreton Bay. This letter was only circulated to very few groups. When we obtained a copy of one of these letters we alerted the Courier Mail and other groups. Below is a copy of the letter and a map of the area to mined.

sandmine in moreton bay

This represents a concerted attack on the ecological integrity of Moreton Bay by State Development/EPA/DME to serve the needs of an out of control development industry and the privatised Brisbane Airport.

The DME wants to mine around 20 Million tonnes for the Airport and other major infrastrucure

This mining operation could seriously comprise the marine park and have impacts on fisheries, the whole bay and surrounding islands such as Moreton and Bribie islands. This highlights gaping holes in the Marine Parks Act and the Environmental Protection Act. NO EIS legally required for this proposed mine or of the new mine on the Spitfire banks. This process ignores current work being done to develop a SEQ Regional Extractives Plan to coordinate the identification and assessment of potential resource areas. If this is State Developments and DME idea of public consultation we can hardly wait for for whats in the yet unrealeased State Planning Policy for Extractives.

Write to your State Member and urge them to stop this new mining in Moreton Bay.

Write to your Federal Member and urge them to stop this new mining in Moreton Bay. Demand that a federal Environmental Impact Statement be done and that the Ramsar Listed Moreton Bay Wetlands are protected.

 


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Letter Received By BREC Friday 10 August 2000

With comments due by Monday 14th August

WBM OCEANICS AUSTRALIA Our Ref: Wayne Young: 12982:L39837.doc

7 August 2000

Mr Michael Petter

Brisbane Regional Environmental Committee

PO Box 479 MORNINGSIDE QLD 4170

Dear Michael

RE: SAND EXTRACTION FROM MORETON BAY - TERMS OF REFERENCE

Following on from our telephone conservation, please find the following information relating to the development of a Terms of Reference (ToR) for a study of Impacts of Sand Extraction in Moreton Bay.

At present a number of sand extraction operations are undertaken within Moreton Bay. These include commercial operations, with the sand used for a variety of uses such as concrete manufacture, channel maintenance and/or development, and large-scale extraction projects to obtain material for large capital projects, such as the Brisbane Airport development.

To date, each of these operations have been considered on a case-by-case basis, which makes it difficult to obtain an overall view of the total extraction and the associated potential impacts. The ad hoc approach limits integration between operations and limits and assessment of cumulative effects. The Queensland Government has set about to review the situation. This review has been prioritised by the need to consider proposed development of a number of large-scale projects within the Brisbane area and the anticipated increasing demand for commercial supply of sand from the Bay.

In 1997, the EPA undertook the development of a management considerations study for the extraction of sand (WBM 1997). This study outlined a number of issues facing the overall management of extraction in Moreton Bay, including a paucity of information regarding the status of the resource and the need for an overall management plan. The consulting firm PPK P/L subsequently undertook an assessment of the sand resource in 1998.

The EPA, Department of Mines and Energy and the Department of State Development have formed a Project Team to oversee the development of an overall management plan. The development of this plan acknowledges that data deficiencies still exist in some areas and as such, the group are proposing to undertake a series of inter-related studies, with the overall objective being the development of an integrated management plan for sand extraction in Moreton Bay.

The management plan will encompass a wide range of ecological, cultural heritage, and economic issues associated with sand extraction from an area such as Moreton Bay. It should be noted however that this study will not be an IAS for legislative requirements and, although much of the data complied during the works will be used in site specific impact assessments, these could still be required for individual extraction applications.

The Project Team has commissioned WBM Oceanics Australia to develop a draft ToR for the study. The brief for this development includes preliminary consultation with major stakeholders, such as the QDPI, to outline major issues which they consider fundamental to the ToR. It should be noted that the Project Team will undertake a further round of much broader consultation with the completed draft ToR before commissioning any further studies. The aim of the consultation at this stage is to ensure major issues are addressed, and avoid the need for major revision of the ToR in subsequent stages.

An Overview

The general area proposed for sand extraction will be northern Moreton Bay and the sand deposits associated with the northern entrance tidal delta. This area contains some 4,000,000,000 m3 of sand with characteristics suitable for extraction.

Commercial extraction, mainly for concrete manufacture, currently totals approximately 450,000 m3 per annum. This demand is anticipated to increase as a result of increasing demand for high quality sand for construction materials.

In terms of large capital projects, the proposed Brisbane Airport expansion would require a large amount of sand as fill for runway expansion in the short to medium term, and further material in the long term for additional infrastructure development.

The Port of Brisbane Corporation is proposing to undertake a significant expansion of existing port facilities by reclamation, with the outer bund wall established in the short term. The filling of this bund will be undertaken as a staged process, taking an estimated 25 years to complete. The fill required for the reclamation can be sourced from routine maintenance dredging over the 25 years.

It is likely that the Terms of Reference will identify requirements for a needs analysis, resource assessmet1t (based on PPK 1998), integrated technical impact assessments and the development of the management plan. Impact assessments will involve consideration of key issues including:

• Fisheries; Marine benthic communities;

• Hydrodynamics;

• Cultural heritage; and

• Economics.

Information Required

At this stage, I would appreciate a broad overview of the issues which your organization would see as fundamental inclusions in the draft ToR. Please note that this consultation is at a preliminary stage only, and that the Project Team will be undertaking a round of detailed consultation with stakeholders, including your organization, to develop the final terms of reference.

Timing

The Project Team has requested that the draft ToR be provided by mid August. To allow our team sufficient time to include all stakeholder comments as required, I would appreciate your comments by 14th August 2000. An informal reply is all that is required at this stage, either by phone, fax, letter or e-mail.

The best contacts with WBM Oceanics are either Bob Tilbury (rtilbury@wbmpl.com.au) or myself (wryoung@wbmpl.com.au) or on the numbers/addresses above.

I trust the above is suitable for your requirements. If you have any questions, or require any further detail, please do not hesitate to contact either Bob or myself.

Yours faithfully

Wayne Young Environmental Scientist

WBM OCEANICS AUSTRALIA