Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Coalpac Consolidation Plan Rejected

A Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) report released today has recommended against a large open-cut mining proposal in a scenic gateway area that is part of the Gardens of Stone in the western Blue Mountains.  The proposal would have destroyed almost 1,000 hectares of public forest beside the Castlereagh Highway about 30 kilometres north of Lithgow,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The PAC decision is the best Christmas present the Blue Mountains could have received,” Mr Muir said.

“This decision should be the watershed for the Gardens of Stone reserve proposal, which should now be reserved”, said Mr Muir.

“The rejected open-cut coal mining proposal, described as the Coalpac Consoldation Plan, was chasing low value coal and would have caused a broad range of environmental impacts to an area of high biodiversity.  The best coal in the proposal area had already been mined out by low-impact underground methods so the proposal would have caused a large amount of environmental damage for the remaining poor value product,” he said.

“Of course the coal industry and especially Coalpac will claim that this decision is a mistake but the PAC recommendation will stick.  Other mines in the Western Coalfield can provide coal required for the power stations”, said Mr Muir.

“The decision is well considered. It examines all the economic, social and environmental impacts, including cumulative effects on the local community.  I can’t see how this decision could be overturned.  I’m sure that the further consideration by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure will support this report and that the PAC Commissioners who make the final decision will also find in favour of the spectacular Gardens of Stone, which truly is the forgotten wonderland in Sydney’s backyard!”, Mr Muir said. 

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

Download the PAC review report