Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Springvale Mine - Centennial Coal’s other tale of woe

“The waste heap collapse at Clarence Colliery is not Centennial Coal’s only serious environmental disaster, the Springvale Mine with more than 900 pollution licence infringements between 2000 and 2013 is far, far worse,” Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness said.

“We know that Coal’s proposed Springvale mine-extension proposes to duplicate its effluent discharge infrastructure so that this mine can discharge 50 megalitres of effluent a day to the Coxs River.  Centennial Coal made out to the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) that only 19 megalitres a day was the worst case. But with the 8.3 megalitres a day from Angus Place discharging via the Springvale mine, the so-called worst case is upon us now,” Mr Muir said in growing frustration about the plight of Sydney’s water supplies and our World Heritage Area.

“Springvale’s discharges helped kill nationally endangered swamps on the Newnes Plateau before being diverted to the Wallerawang Power Plant where this tale of woe continued,” said Mr Muir.

“In 2008 the Wallerawang condensers required $35 million in repairs to handle the highly saline mine effluent.  In January 2013 there was a major condenser collapse and then the power plant closed the following year.  Join the dots, poor pollution control costs third parties (in this case Delta electricity’s rate payers) very big money,” he said.

“Now this company, Centennial Coal, wants approval to undermine 29 nationally endangered swamps (read kill) as well as duplicate its water transfer scheme.  Instead of going to a power plant, the saline mine effluent that is rich in metals and all sorts of muck, will continue to flow into Sydney’s drinking water supply”, Mr Muir said. 

“The Coxs River that flows through the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area will die and our drinking water could become increasingly affected by Centennial’s effluent.  The proposed approval does not set specific pollution standards that the Springvale mine must meet.  No, the draft conditions merely require an ‘Upper Coxs River Action Plan’ to examine treatment options that will be negotiated by the EPA”, he said.

Centennial Coal is expert at spinning processes and worming out of well-intended but non-prescriptive conditions.  A stronger hand is needed with Centennial Coal and we need to re-examine this mine proposal at another PAC hearing”, said Mr Muir.

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

For more info: