Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Mt Piper Power Plant Expansion exposed in water grab

The proposal to expand the Mt Piper power plant identifies Springvale Colliery as the source for any additional water resources needed for the plant.  A large diameter pipeline from that mine is being laid now, even though the power station’s expansion plans have yet to be approved. 

“A new pipeline for the proposed power plant expansion is under construction from the Carne Creek catchment on Newnes Plateau.  The new pipes are double the size of the existing water transfer system installed in 2005 and will be located parallel to it.  It can carry more than 30 megalitres a day,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The big pipes being laid on Newnes Plateau quash the previous mealy-mouthed reporting by coal miners on water resources.  The massive pipeline reveals the extent to which the longwall coal mining under the Plateau impacts upon its water resources”, said Mr Muir.  

“Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM), environmental consultants for Delta Electricity’s Mt Piper expansion proposal state that, “Discharging mine water from collapsed shallow workings, such as those in the Mount Piper area, tends to be low in salinity because of its accessibility to infiltrating rainwater, but acid in places.” (Env. Assessment, for the Mt Piper Extension Ch 5, Pg 5-2, my emphasis)  

“The comments by SKM confirm what environmentalists have believed for a long time; that longwall coal mining damages surface water resources.  These remarks confirm a connection exists between surface water and inflows to the Springvale coal mine sourced by the Mt Piper power plant”, Mr Muir said. 

“This SKM revelation means that longwall mining under streams and nationally endangered shrub swamps on Newnes Plateau must be stopped to prevent further damage to natural resources.  Centennial Coal must place protection zones over the Plateau’s endangered swamps and under Carne Creek,” Mr Muir said. 

“Springvale Colliery recently began moving its Delta/Springvale Water Transfer Scheme into the Carne Creek catchment.  The Scheme will impact upon water flows to the Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort downsteam, as well as dry out the nationally endangered shrub swamps above the mine,” he said. 

“The huge new pipeline also blows the whistle on Delta Electricity’s claim that little addition water is required for the Mt Piper expansion from 1.4 to 3.4 gigawatts.  The water augmentation scheme is a pre-emptive development that can suck the Newnes Plateau dry,” Mr Muir said. 

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