Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Centennial Coal cops million dollar fine and public censure for polluting World Heritage Area

“Today Justice Robson of the Land and Environment Court handed down a million dollar fine to Centennial Coal for its coal fines pollution of a ten kilometre reach of the Wollangambe River in Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area,” Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The million dollar fine imposed on the company’s Clarence Colliery is not a big penalty for a coal company and smaller than the penalty imposed on the company in 2011 under Federal environmental law[1].  The Federal Environment Minister, Josh Frydenberg, should have required action in the Federal Court, to ensure a penalty commensurate with damage to World Heritage in the order of $10 to $20 million dollars,” Mr Muir said.


Public Censure

“The Land and Environment Court also imposed public censure through directions to publish notices in the Financial Review, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Lithgow Mercury.  Censure is more of a penalty than the fine as they impact upon the public’s perception of the company”, said Mr Muir.

More work to do

“We commend the hard work of the NSW Environment Protection Authority and local conservationists bringing this matter to a conclusion, but there is more work to do”, Mr Muir said. 

“Centennial Coal is a serial offender as far as the environment is concerned.  We are disappointed the Court did not make directions to ensure that these kinds of pollution events can never happen again.  Waste heaps and coal fines are not secured behind adequately engineered dam walls, and measures to ensure containment structures are not overtopped need to be established for all coal mines,” he said.

“Each day Clarence Colliery discharges 19 million litres of mine water into the World Heritage listed Wollangambe River.  This pollution has to cease and the EPA and everyone involved with this mine need work towards this end so that the World Heritage Area is adequately protected and treated with the respect it deserves”, said Mr Muir.

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

For background see: and search this website under Clarence