Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Springvale Mine admits to long term swamp damage – Minister Frydenberg must act

In its latest longwall mine extraction plan, Centennial Coal has admitted to damaging five nationally listed swamps it had previously denied damaging for over a decade.  Further, the damage is due to far-field impacts that were not assessed through the planning process in any Environmental Impact Statement for the Springvale mine.

“Springvale mine is having, and has had, far-field impacts, even outside its mine approval area.  Mining has damaged Kangaroo Creek Swamp, East Wolgan Swamp, Narrow Swamp, Sunnyside East Swamp and Carne West Swamp[i].  Federal Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg must step in to protect nationally endangered swamps the Gardens of Stone region from these impacts and stop this extensive and serious damage”, Keith Muir, director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness said. 

“Minister Frydenberg and NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes must make an example of Centennial Coal to ensure scenic waterfalls, our water and our national heritage are properly assessed by due process and protected.  Making major omissions in assessments have led to severe damage to our heritage.  Centennial has played a game of denial with the planning assessment process, and must be given a red card for foul play.  Of course faults (lineaments) control groundwater behaviour on Newnes Plateau, why assessments should ignore this fact is denial of the obvious,” Mr Muir said.

“Nationally endangered populations of the Blue Mountains Skink and the Giant Dragonfly lived in the swamps have been lost, with Carne West Swamp being the most recent swamp ruined”, he said.  

“The environmental assessments, subsidence management plans and monitoring reports for a decade have all claimed that the longwall mining damage to swamps was negligible.  Now Centennial Coal has tentatively admit they got it wrong!  Gang Gang Swamp is the next swamp at risk from mining at Springvale.  Its Blue Mountains Skink population and flows over a dramatic waterfall downstream of that swamp must be protected either by Minister Frydenberg and or Minister Stokes,” said Mr Muir.

“These revelations follow the report by independent experts that Springvale mine has caused the functional loss of Carne West Swamp following a mine-related fall in groundwater levels below it.  Mining expert, Emeritus Professor Jim Galvin reported that the loss of groundwater developed when the mine was 700 metres away from the swamp.  Now it is revealed that four other swamps have been impacted by far field impacts,” he said.