Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Springvale Colliery - a swamp killer (‘Minor damage' claim is ridiculous)

“Centennial Coal is making misleading assertions in regard to the damage caused by Springvale Colliery. A crack in the sandstone bed under East Wolgan Swamp that captures 7 megalitres of water a day with no detectible re-emergence of flow downstream cannot be described by the company as ‘ minor damage' . I t's very major, ecosystem changing, stream destroying damage ,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“Centennial's Subsidence Management Status Report for March 2009 states ‘ the cracking [of East Wolgan Swamp ] is minor and the evidence being gathered in the form of sequential photographs is demonstrating that the cracks are rapidly weathering and filling with silt .' This ‘minor crack' has, for over six months, captured entirely 7 megalitres of water discharged each day by the colliery from a point upstream.

“The vegetation in East Wolgan Swamp is dead or dying, as the mining company knows”, Mr Muir said.

“Centennial's Status Report for March euphemistically claims the tea trees in East Wolgan Swamp near the crack and at Junction Swamp are showing a ‘ lower condition ranking' ,” he said.

“Centennial Coal's recent claim that soil moisture in East Wolgan Swamp “ has been influenced (positively) by the emergency discharge events” is also misleading ” Saline mine water discharges do not positively substitute for the swamp's fresh water. It has poisoned the shrub swamp vegetation in East Wolgan Swamp , although weeds, like blackberry, prefer the salty water discharges,” said Mr Muir.

Swamp Protection Zones

“The Colong Foundation believes adequate protection zones are necessary for these vitally importantNationally Endangered upland shrub swamps on sandstone . The swamps are supposed to be protected under the Commonwealth Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act but current mine regulation has failed to provide the needed protection,” he said.

“Adequate swamp protection zones are needed to prevent streambed fracture and loss of flow into, or out of, all wetlands that overlie Centennial's underground workings”, Mr Muir said.

“Current swamp management plans and monitoring reviews are a delaying tactic to avoid these protection zones until it's too late,” said Mr Muir.

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