Channel Country safe from open-cut mines, says minister

THERE will be no open-cut mining in the outback Channel Country of western Queensland, although oil and gas development in the area remains an option.

Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said there would also be no cotton grown on Cooper Creek.

The government would create the Channel Country Protection Area to better protect river channels and flood plains.

It covered the Georgina and Diamantina rivers and Cooper Creek in the far south-west of the state, near the South Australian border.

"There will be no cotton grown on Cooper Creek and no indiscriminate resource development allowed in the Channel Country, end of story," Mr Cripps said.

Oil and gas projects would be "strictly controlled" by the government, he said, using tougher conditions now included in the Environmental Protection Act.

Mr Cripps said more detail was to be announced.

He would now consult with Environment Minister Andrew Powell on putting the new plans in place.