Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Springvale-Mt Piper Mine Water Transfer proposal is very disappointing

“The proposal for the Springvale-Mt Piper Power Plant water transfer scheme released today is very disappointing.  The proposed scheme does not seek a zero release outcome.  Instead, it allows for continued discharge of treated mine water to Wangcol Creek and then into Sydney’s drinking water supply,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The Colong Foundation considers the proposal is a poor effort that should not be approved without considerable improvement to reduce environmental impacts.  It is very disappointing that a mining company can propose to spend so millions on mine water reuse and achieve this potentially poor outcome”, said Mr Muir.

“The 2015 Springvale Mine approval allowed for mine water discharges to the Coxs River, provided that certain treatment standards were met.  The environmental impact statement released today for mine water reuse disappointingly adopts the previous pollution standards instead of seeking an improved outcome,” Mr Muir said.

“If this new proposal maximised reuse, then there would be virtually no need for mine water disposal to Sydney’s drinking water supply catchment”, said Mr Muir.

“Over a month ago, the Colong Foundation explained to EnergyAustralia that this scheme’s proposed mine water discharge to Wangcol Creek is likely to cause water quality problems because that stream passes through areas that have been subjected to open-cut mining.  The discharge of treated mine water to Wangcol Creek is likely to increase flows of contaminated water into the Coxs River from this creek.  In other words the proposed scheme may make current Wangcol Creek pollution of the Coxs River worse!,” he said.

“The proposal will also impact on Endangered Ecological Communities where a proposed pipeline exits the Newnes Plateau escarpment.  The environmental impact statement for the Springvale mine extension indicated the pipeline’s impact on these communities, and the new proposal is misleading regarding impact”, Mr Muir said. 

“Centennial Coal is going through the motions, spending millions rather than maximising environmental outcomes and avoiding unnecessary impacts, even when these impacts are pointed out.  Earlier this month Springvale was embroiled in swamp impact debacle regarding a monitoring report by Emeritus Professor Jim Galvin and now this discharge transfer is another example of a poor environmental outcome,” he said.

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