Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Angus Place Colliery’s “Trial Mine” proposal is unprecedented trickery

MEDIA RELEASE                                Wednesday 8 August, 2012

“Centennial Coal has hoodwinked the Federal environmental regulator with its proposed trial mining at Angus Place, north of Lithgow. The trial mining seeks to increase the intensity of coal mining at the mine,” said Keith Muir, director, of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The Colong Foundation has raised its concerns regarding Centennial’s trial mining tactics with Federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, asking that he seek advice as to whether any breach of Federal law has taken place,” Mr Muir said.

“The trial mine’s longwall mine layout would result in more intensive coal mining than previously approved for the Angus Place mine. This trial mining proposal was been found not to be a controlled action under Federal Government’s environmental law, but I believe the situation has been misrepresented”, said Mr Muir.

“It appears Centennial Coal is using the proposed trial mining as a tactic to get around Federal Government environmental regulation. The Colong Foundation believes Centennial did not fully disclose the environmentally damaging consequences of the trial mining proposal to the Federal Government”, said Mr Muir.

“This trial is currently before the NSW Government and if approved there will set a precedent allowing this sort of trial mining as a part of exploration,” said Mr Muir.

“Centennial Coal was hit with a $1.45 million “enforceable undertaking” last year by the Federal Environment Department, after Angus Place was found to have “caused significant impact” on nationally significant swamps on Newnes Plateau,” Mr Muir said.

“Centennial Coal did not accept fault when responding to the “enforceable undertaking” penalty imposed for destroying swamps above its Angus Place colliery. Centennial Coal’s General Manager was quoted in the Lithgow Mercury as saying “we consider changes to the swamps are related to changes to climatic conditions in the area” (27 Oct. 2011). Now the colliery has proposed “trial mining” that actually lays out a framework for future longwall mining operations that could cause even more damage,” said Mr Muir

It’s a high risk game that Centennial is playing, as the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 has severe penalties for damaging national heritage and making misleading statements, he said.

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

Trial mining will determine the layout of longwall panels. No data was
provided to the Federal Government on the environmental impacts
of these panels that are bigger than previous mining operations.