Profits or nature reserves is the question

A STORM is brewing over billionaire Clive Palmer's planned super-mine for the Galilee Basin, west of Emerald, with the State forced to choose between a nature reserve and $3 billion in projected royalties.

Mr Palmer's Waratah Coal released a supplementary EIS for public comment this week, stating the company would need to mine part of the adjoining 8000ha Bimblebox Nature Reserve, or the 30-year project could be at risk.

"For the Galilee Coal Project, the reserves beneath the Bimblebox Nature Reserve are critical and the most cost-effective of all reserves," the report stated.

The report warned a ban on mining the protected area would cut its coal production by 40%, "which makes cost recovery to build the rail, mine and port infrastructure unlikely".

If the refuge's protection puts the entire project at risk, it could cost the national economy $85 billion over the same period.

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