The Queensland Resources Council says environmental group campaigns against dredging near the Great Barrier Reef are driven by anti-mining sentiment.

Green groups are spreading lies about the effects of dredging on the Great Barrier Reef because they’re anti-mining, Queensland’s peak industry group says.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Michael Roche met with tourism operators, scientists and business leaders in Cairns on Thursday to discuss what he calls “misinformation” about development near the reef.

“We’ll also be talking about our concerns that there are people who are trying to create fear around the Great Barrier Reef to pursue an anti-mining agenda,” he told AAP.

“We want to caution people about getting caught up in that agenda.”

But Australian Marine Conservation Society campaigner Felicity Wishart said the QRC was putting out misinformation.

“If we are scaremongering it’s because the evidence is clear that there are real concerns to be worried about,” she said.

Environmental groups have spent months campaigning against dredging at the Abbot Point coal port, which will involve the dumping of three million cubic metres of dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

They say the spoil will damage marine life and coral.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority have approved the dredging and seabed dumping plan. It is proposed by the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation and is expected to turn Abbot Point into one of the world’s busiest coal terminals.

Mr Roche said dredging projects to build and expand ports have been carried out in Queensland for decades without significant cost to marine life.

He pointed to an Australian Institute of Marine Science report in 2012 which found that crown-of-thorns starfish, severe weather and nutrient run-off were the biggest threats to the reef.