Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Centennial Coal to blame for Springvale worker stand down – Colong Foundation

[ Note: The CMFEU placed a notice on September 10, 2015 on the Save Our Jobs, Save Our Town facebook page postponing the family picnic rally stating that they 'required more numbers for that date to be beneficial'. ]

Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness believes that the stand down of Springvale mine workers is the fault of Centennial Coal and no one else.  He was responding to today’s CMFEU family picnic rally held in Martin Place in support of Springvale’s mine workers.

“Centennial should have applied for an extension to their current consent, as they did for Airly Mine last year and other mines at various times.  The employment risk due to delay in getting approvals for the Springvale mine has been known for months.  I am sure that the Department of Planning and Environment would have rushed through a six or twelve month extension of the current approval to avoid a worker stand down,” Mr Muir said.

“Centennial Coal allowed this employment crisis to develop at the mine to leverage the mine-extension approval.  The current proposal is without adequate protection of the 29 nationally significant upland swamps on Newnes Plateau, or effective pollution controls for mine water affecting the Coxs River, the World Heritage Area and the drinking water supply downstream”, said Mr Muir.

“I am surprised that the CMFEU don’t see this situation for what it is – a bosses lock out.  The union should not have allowed mine workers and their families to be used as pawns in Centennial Coal’s strategy,” he said.

“There is, I am beginning to suspect, another reason why Centennial did not seek an extension to its existing consent.  If it had obtained a such short-term approval, the mine would then have undermined Carne West Swamp, which would have dried out and died.  As a result, the company’s claim that longwall mining doesn’t damage swamps would be proven incorrect.  The new consent then would be conditioned to prevent further swamp damage and that would affect coal conservation – the yield of coal from the approval area.  There is nothing in a climate changing world that is more stupid than coal conservation instead of effective environment protection”, Mr Muir said. 

“Centennial Coal may have fooled some of the regulators and politicians for some of the time, but it can’t fool all of them, all the time.  Centennial’s risky approval strategy will be exposed.  When the precious swamps needlessly die and the mine water is proven to be toxic to aquatic life, then the reasonable solutions to these problems advanced by the Colong Foundation will be recognised as the correct way forward”, said Mr Muir.

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

See also
R032/15 - Springvale Mine Extension Project Second Review