Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Planning Blunder vindicates Second Planning Assessment Commission Hearing and Review

Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness believes that “today’s second public hearing for the Springvale Mine extension was necessary to correct a serious administrative error by the Department of Environment and Planning.  

“Removal of the resource as the primary consideration from the state environmental planning policy on mining should make a big difference to planning decisions on coal mining proposals.  The Department blundered when it dismissed this policy change in its assessment on the Springvale proposal last month and claimed it “would have no bearing on the outcomes”.  Any approval made by the Planning Assessment Commission along those lines would not survive a day in court,” Mr Muir said.

“The mining policy change should enable nationally significant swamps to be protected from damage by retaining some coal underground in protection zones”, said Mr Muir.

Pipe all Springvale’s mine effluent to the Mt Piper Power Plant and dispose of it

“This second hearing review also enables consideration of a proposal that eliminates all discharges to the Coxs River,” he said.

“Waste water elimination is superior to discharging toxic waste into the Coxs River where it would then pass through the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and into Sydney’s main water supply storage, Lake Burragorang. 

“If Springvale’s mine effluent were suitably treated it can be used to cool the Mt Piper Power Plant.  To take advantage of this opportunity, a new pipeline should be built to transfer 23ML/day of Springvale’s mine effluent to the power plant”, said Mr Muir.

This blindingly obvious solution is just a modification of the mine’s previous arrangement with the decommissioned Wallerawang Power Plant.  There is one big difference though, the Mt Piper Power Plant is a zero release plant so the Coxs River, World Heritage Area and the main water supply for 4 million people can be protected, and isn’t that good news, Mr Muir said.

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