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BRISBANE, Jan 25 AAP

January 25 2013, 5:55PM

Four coal mines in central Queensland have begun releasing stored water into the Fitzroy River system.

It is the first controlled release from the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) mines under the Fitzroy Basin pilot plan, announced last November.

Environment Minister Andrew Powell says the release has been made possible by the deluge from ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.

"All four mines participating in the pilot, Goonyella Riverside, Peak Downs, Norwich Park and Saraji have now commenced releases in accordance with their environmental authorities, with releases beginning at 5am (AEST) this morning," the minister said in a statement.

"This pilot is being closely monitored and regulated, with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection keeping a close watch on discharges from other coal mines and monitoring the cumulative impact on the river."

The department will also carry out additional water quality monitoring and collect water samples for laboratory analysis.