Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Pine Dale’s Pagoda Restoration Plan a fantasy


Blue Mountains Conservation Society
The Colong Foundation for Wilderness Ltd


“Enhance Place’s report to the Federal Government committing to the “re-instatement of selected rocky outcrops” in its recent Pine Dale open-cut proposal for over 200 hectares of publicly-owned State Forest at Blackmans Flat just can’t be honoured.

“Pagodas can’t be pulled apart, moved into storage, and then re-instated years later after open-cut mining, like so many tombstones in a graveyard”, said Mr Keith Muir, Director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The Enhance Place aim to rehabilitate the Pine Dale mine proposal by re-creating pagoda landforms or, in their terms re-instating selected rocky outcrops, has no credibility.  Pagodas are outcropping sandstone towers and domes beautifully sculpted by nature, but inextricably linked to the underlying sedimentary rocks”, said Mr Muir.

“The pagodas, in some cases the size of the Sydney Opera House, typically have fragile platy and intricately convoluted ironstone layers.  They are wonderful, immovable megaton monuments and an integral part of the geological fabric of the Gardens of Stone reserve proposal”, said Mr Muir.

“Pagodas are created by millions of years of differential weathering operating on the ironstone and sandstone layers’ Dr Haydn Washington said, author of a scientific paper on pagoda geodiversity ‘They are of international significance. They cannot be dismantled and “put back”. All you would get is a pile of rubble, not a pagoda”, said Dr Haydn Washington, environmental scientist and Visiting Fellow at UNSW.

“The new Pine Dale mining proposal’s rehabilitation aim ‘would be to create a final landform…similar to the existing landform including the…re-instatement of selected rocky outcrops’ (EPBC 2012/6326 referral link, pg 10).  These rehabilitation aims are a fantasy, and rehabilitation plans can never restore the wonderful Gardens of Stone reserve proposal scenery once open-cut mined”, said Ms Tara Cameron, Vice-President of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society.

“If the proposal is approved, open-cut coal mining would destroy the sedimentary rock strata upon which the delicate ecology of the publicly-owned Ben Bullen State Forest evolved for millennia”, Ms Cameron said.

“Groundwater, streams, native landforms, and their dependent ecosystems, do not survive once the sedimentary rocks are blasted to smithereens with high explosive and torn apart by huge machines.  The rehabilitation plans can never recreate the natural wonders of the Gardens of Stone reserve proposal”, said Ms Cameron.

For more info contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk); 0412 791 404 (mob); 
                                   Haydn Washington 0427367024 (mob); 
                                   Tara Cameron 0419 824 974 (mob)