Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Sacked Ecologist’s Revelations Triggers Call for a New Public Hearing into Centennial Coal’s Mining Plans

“The revelation* that a Centennial Coal consultant warned in 2001 that the Springvale Colliery was causing serious damage to endangered swamps has triggered calls for another public hearing regarding this mine’s expansion proposals.

Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness believes that a second public hearing into the proposed mine-extension is necessary to ensure 29 nationally threatened swamps are protected from longwall mining.

“These new swamp damage revelations make the Springvale mine-extension proposal north of Lithgow as controversial as the Coalpac open-cut mine that was subjected to a second hearing”.

“Centennial Coal can’t to trusted to undermine rare Newnes Plateau swamps without environmental impacts,’ said Mr Muir

“Protection of 29 nationally endangered shrub and hanging swamps is not a trifle to be waved away. Centennial Coal is a recidivist environmental vandal.  These swamps are an important part of our nation’s heritage that support nationally endangered plants and animals, such as fields of fragrant Boronia, populations of giant dragonflies from the age of the dinosaur and the Leura skink”, Mr Muir said.

“The Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) recommended approval for the proposed Springvale mine-extension based on the claims by Centennial Coal that longwall mining would cause ‘negligible impact’ to the nationally endangered swamps on Newnes Plateau.  The revelations by Centennial’s former consultant, Ray Mjadwesch, reveal that more undermined swamps were damaged than the four conceded by Centennial Coal during the PAC review,” Mr Muir said.

“Critically, the Mjadwesch report states that “the [swamp] damage can only be attributed to impacts from subsidence” and for this reason another PAC hearing is necessary.

“The Federal Government required Centennial Coal pay a $1.45 million enforceable undertaking to compensate for the four damaged swamps.  Longwall mining is a key threatening process under the Threatened Species Act, 2005 and even Centennial’s current subsidence consultants state that there will be rock fracturing under the swamps. 

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

* A. Davies, Ecologist says warning on Lithgow mine led to sacking, SMH, 4-5 July, 2015