Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Coalpac’s new Spaghetti Mine Plan is just damaging as before

“Coalpac’s revised open-cut coal mine proposal at Cullen Bullen north of Lithgow now looks like a plate of spaghetti.  The new plan, received by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure last week, is to open-cut mine the last thin strips of coal remaining along the hill slopes below a complex of cliff lines running off the Great Dividing Range, causing maximum damage to public forests for the least benefit,” Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness said.

“If approved, this open-cut proposal will set a bad precedent for strip mining along forested hills slopes below sandstone cliff lines and pagoda areas.  These long thin strips of steep and elevated lands are very difficult to rehabilitate and will become, for all time, areas of visual blight, destroying the region’s greatest tourist asset, its stunning scenery” he said.

“Approval of this proposal will open the door to the visual cancer of strip mining along the steep forested edges of the Greater Blue Mountains, at Pine Dale, in the upper Coxs Valley and elsewhere, such as in the upper Hunter Valley.  It must be stopped”, said Mr Muir.

“Strip mining of the elevated and forested slopes below cliffs causes the worst sort of visual blight, and that is partly of the reason why last year the PAC Commissioner’s rejected the proposal on the merits, at the first stage of its assessment,” Mr Muir said.

“Coalpac in reply to the Commissioners’ report now offers protection of just few tiny gullies, totalling only 9 hectares, in its so-called contracted proposal, while increasing mining intensity elsewhere.  Over 90 per cent of the contraction in the mining proposal is outside the Gardens of Stone reserve proposal area and the proposed changes to the mine plan appear to be due to economic and technical considerations”, said Mr Muir.

“There has been no pull back of open-cut mining near Cullen Bullen.  Instead, Coalpac has attacked the PAC Commissioners’ 2012 assessment report and its recommended rejection of this damaging proposal.  Coalpac makes out they have offered a huge concession to community and conservation interests.  They have done nothing of the sort; in many places the area of highwall mining has increased”, Mr Muir said.    

“Coalpac has adopted ‘crash or crash through’ tactics with its controversial open-cut coal mine proposal north of Lithgow.  Coalpac are using every trick in the book.  This plan to strip mining the forested slopes below cliff lines in the Blue Mountains deserves to crash right out of the planning system for forever”, said Mr Muir.

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