Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Call to reject mining in national parks

Director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, Keith Muir, called on the Coalition Parties to confirm its opposition to mining in national parks, following proposals by Pangaea Resources to explore for coal seam gas in the Blue Mountains .

“In 1990 the Coalition passed the National Parks and Wildlife (Mining Prohibition) Amendment Act that prevented the exploration and mining of national parks in NSW,” said Muir.

“We ask the Coalition for reassurance that it will stand by that initiative and not allow mining or exploration in national parks or nature reserves”, he said.

“Any push by the Minerals Council or anyone else for mineral exploration or mining in national parks would be very destructive”, he said.

“I reject the claim by Martin Debelle of Pangaea Resources in today's Herald (page 3) that the coal seam methane gas “ extraction can have almost no impact on the surface ””, Mr Muir said.

“When coal seam methane gas extraction precedes coal mining it requires a maze of roads, bore holes and pipes to extract the gas from the field. Often massive amounts of saline groundwater must be discharged at the surface so that the gas may be won from the coal seam,” he said.

“Any suggestion that all that roading , well heads and toxic water pollution is going to have no impact is nonsensical,” said Mr Muir.

“The exploration can be just as bad, as the bore holes and roads are developed under guise of ‘exploration'. Coal seam dewatering tests then take place to prove up the resource. As the old mine workings around Nattai are to be tested for gas, this exploration could pollute Lake Burragorang with toxic mine water”, Mr Muir said.

“Coal seam methane, is not a clean source of energy when our waterways and water supplies are polluted with saline, metal rich groundwater extracted from the coal seam,” said Mr Muir.

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