Quantifying the environmental impact of a major coal mine project on the adjacent Great Barrier Reef ecosystems

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2022.113656. This is version 2 of this Preprint.

Downloads

Download Preprint

Authors

Antoine Saint-Amand , Alana Grech, Severine Choukroun, Emmanuel Hanert

Abstract

A major coal mine project in Queensland, Australia, is currently under review. It is planned to be located about 10 km away from the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA). Sediment dispersal patterns and their impact on marine ecosystems have not been properly assessed yet. Here, we simulate the dispersal of different sediment types with a high-resolution ocean model, and derive their environmental footprint. We show that sediments finer than 32 µm could reach dense seagrass meadows and a dugong sanctuary within a few weeks. The intense tidal circulation leads to non-isotropic and long-distance sediment dispersal patterns along the coast. Our results suggest that the sediments released by this project will not be quickly mixed but rather be concentrated where the most valuable ecosystems are located. If accepted, this coal mine could therefore have a far-reaching impact on the GBRWHA and its iconic marine species.

DOI

https://doi.org/10.31223/X5XK92

Subjects

Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment, Environmental Sciences, Oceanography, Oil, Gas, and Energy

Keywords

Great Barrier Reef, Coal mine, sediments, Environmental footprint, Seagrass, High-resolution ocean model

Dates

Published: 2021-12-23 11:21

Last Updated: 2022-04-26 11:53

Older Versions
License

CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Conflict of interest statement:
None

Data Availability (Reason not available):
No data to be made easily available (way to heavy to be uploaded online)

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


Comments

There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.