Major mining projects 'left in limbo' by Labor

MORE than 50 major mining and port projects were left "in limbo" by the previous Labor Government, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday.

The projects include more than 15 projects requiring federal approvals, as well as up to 50 others that need to be assessed for effects on water.

Proposals across Queensland formed the bulk of the projects in the backlog, including the dredging and sea dumping associated with the Abbot Point port expansion and the Alpha coal mine.

Other projects were awaiting approvals under the "Windsor amendments" to the environmental protection act, to assess potential damage to groundwater and surface flows.

Mr Hunt told Sky News on Sunday the previous government had left the projects in limbo.

"They brought in a water trigger, and then made no decisions - so 50 major gas and energy projects are in complete limbo," he said.

"And the previous ministers of Mr Burke and Mr Butler weren't asked to say yes or no to the projects, all they were asked to do was to make a procedural decision as to whether or not these projects needed to be considered."

Mr Hunt said he would officially start to consider decisions on whether the proposals needed full assessment this week, but it could be some time before approvals are given.

He said he would see the departmental briefs on each project later this week, before considering which projects should be assessed.