Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Boost NSW Coal Royalties or future generations will pay the price

The Colong Foundation is disappointed that the Iemma Government has not raised coal royalties in today's budget in line with recent moves by Queensland. This may send a strong signal for miners to come and dig up NSW, but it will be at the expense of the environment.

“For years coal mining in NSW has undervalued its environmental damages. This is particularly true for water supply catchment areas. A higher and properly constructed coal royalty should create very strong incentives for miners to undertake adequate environment protection ,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

Coal is now worth almost ten times what it was a just few years ago. Just one ‘panel' of the ‘Bulli seam' coking coal commands a premier price of more than $100 million; so the needed catchment protection measures are currently being swept aside”, he said.

“Adequate protection of the water supply catchments will require more coal to be kept in the ground to stop the damage. Coal royalties need to accommodate these protection measures, as well as any remediation measures which are a second best solution,” Mr Muir said.

“Our water catchments are in very big trouble. For example, Gujarat NRE, the Indian mining giant, has proposed mining into the mine exclusion around a dam wall and under stored waters. These worrying proposals demonstrate that miners will keep pushing for more access into high impact/high risk mining areas unless the regulatory framework changes”, he said.

As coal mining accelerates with increasing coal prices, so is the mining damage. A sound royalty and protection framework must operate reverse this trend. If this trend continues then we will need more desalination plants and perhaps even a diversion from the Snowy scheme for Sydney 's water supplies,” he said.

“A new coal royalty and protection framework would ensure that future generations do not have to pay many billions to replace essential water supplies lost through today's high impact coal mining operations”, said Mr Muir.

For more information contact: Keith Muir , (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (ah)

See images of water catchment damage. Go to: