About the bioregion

The Clarence-Moreton bioregion spans north-east NSW and south-east Queensland, covering an area of about 24,292 km2, about 9,500 km2 of which is in Queensland (Figure 1). In NSW it contains much of the Clarence and Richmond river basins, while in south-east Queensland it covers the mid and upper parts of the Logan-Albert river basin, Bremer river basin, Lockyer Valley, and parts of the Brisbane river basin. It contains nationally important wetlands, numerous national parks and forest reserves, and sites of international importance for bird conservation. It includes potential habitat for 432 threatened species under Queensland, NSW and Commonwealth legislation.

The outcrop area of the aquifers of the Lamington and Main Range volcanics is the major groundwater recharge area within the Clarence-Moreton bioregion, particularly in the Richmond river basin where most of the surface water runoff is generated. Recharge rates to these aquifers are at least ten times higher than recharge rates to sedimentary bedrock units such as the Walloon Coal Measures.

The bioregion’s main natural and human-modified ecosystems were categorised in a landscape classification that was based on the physical features of the region, including its geology; hydrogeology, which describes the way water moves underground; land use; and ecology (see What are the potential impacts of the hydrological changes? for more information).

Coal resource development

Key finding 1:

The main coal-bearing resource within the bioregion, the Walloon Coal Measures, supports one operational coal mine, Jeebropilly Mine in Queensland, which is in the baseline (Box 2 and Figure 1). The additional coal resource development mapped for this assessment is the West Casino Gas Project in northern NSW, which is no longer proceeding. The potential for commercial production of CSG resources is very limited in the Queensland portion of the bioregion within the foreseeable future, and no other coal mining development was identified in the bioregion.

The West Casino Gas Project was identified as the only additional coal resource development for the assessment. It was an exploration and pilot production CSG development in the Richmond river basin, with plans to later progress to a commercially producing gas field. The proposed project was located in this area due to the presence of coal seams with high gas saturations and permeabilities within the Walloon Coal Measures. These coal seams are located along the western side of the Casino Trough at depths as shallow as 250 m. This assessment assumed that the West Casino Gas Project would begin commercial CSG production in 2018, extracting gas for 20 years from around 90 production wells, each with two lateral extensions into the productive coal seam.

The NSW Government began negotiations with the West Casino Gas Project proponent, Metgasco, in mid-2015 as part of the state-wide buy-back program for petroleum exploration licences. In late 2015, Metgasco shareholders approved the negotiated agreement, which involved NSW acquiring (and subsequently cancelling) Metgasco’s three petroleum exploration licences near Casino, withdrawing their petroleum production licence application, and resolving all outstanding legal disputes. Consequently, Metgasco did not proceed with the West Casino Gas Project. This decision was made, however, after the CRDP was agreed for this bioregional assessment, and therefore the West Casino Gas Project was included as the only additional coal resource development.

Figure 1

Figure 1 Clarence-Moreton bioregion

The Jeebropilly Mine in the Bremer river basin was commercially producing in December 2012 and thus is in the baseline, while the West Casino Gas Project in the Richmond river basin was expected to begin commercial production after December 2012 and thus is the only additional coal resource development for the assessment. The coal resource development pathway includes both the baseline development and the additional coal resource development (ACRD). Shown here is the known extent of the Walloon Coal Measures within the bioregion, both exposed at surface and also buried at depth below younger rocks. Its outcrop area (at the surface) is much smaller.

Data: NSW Department of Trade and Investment (Dataset 1); Bioregional Assessment Programme (Dataset 2)


Context statement, product 1.1 (Rassam et al., 2014)

Coal and coal seam gas resource assessment, product 1.2 (Raiber et al., 2014)

Description of the water-dependent asset register, product 1.3 (Murray et al., 2015a)

Conceptual modelling, product 2.3 (Raiber et al., 2016b)

Compiling water-dependent assets, submethodology M02 (Mount et al., 2015)

Developing a coal resource development pathway, submethodology M04 (Lewis, 2014)

Last updated:
26 October 2018