Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Fix mistakes when mine consents are modified - Chance to fix Springvale mine’s appalling record

“The NSW Department of Planning and Environment can stop environmental damage being caused by the Springvale mine through a variation of the mine’s consent.  Centennial Coal has applied for a mine variation and public comment on it ends today.  The public interest will be best served when this consent modification process fixes errors identified in the consent so as to improve environmental outcomes,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

Independent expert information has come to light that proves Centennial Coal's claim of negligible impact to swamps is wrong.  In June 2016 the experts reported significant impacts have occurred to Carne West Swamp in the extension area that was approved in the September 2015. The expectation of negligible impacts on national heritage listed swamps expressed in the consent and 2014 EIS are significant underestimates of the damage.  The consent must now be varied to protect swamps.  The current offset process is only a last resort, and not an alternative to swamp protection,” he said.

“The independent experts also advised the Department that a waterfall below Carne West Swamp has stopped flowing due to longwall mining. The loss of flows over Carne West waterfall on Newnes Plateau is inexcusable as waterfall impacts were omitted from the 2014 EIS. To discourage miners from making such omissions, all other waterfalls in the mine extension must now be protected under the development consent,” he said.

The Coxs River must not be a drain for mine water

The Centennial Coal/EnergyAustralia proposal for a mine water transfer to the Mt Piper Power Plant could remove mine water from the Coxs River but it might be dropped if the conservation group 4Nature loses its case in the Land and Environment Court,” Mr Muir said.

“A variation of the development consent should require construction of the proposed transfer pipeline and treatment scheme as it would eliminate the mine’s environmentally-impacting discharges to the Coxs River”, said Mr Muir.

“The river must be restored to health, because it flows through our Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and is a key part of Sydney's drinking water supply.  After all the mine used to divert mine water to the Wallerawang power plant before it was decommissioned.  So this proposed consent requirement would update the old scheme and moving it to Mt Piper”, Mr Muir said.

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