Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

NSW Department goes to water on the Manildra open-cut coal mine

The politically-connected Manildra Group has had its proposed Invincible mine recommended for approval by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment on Friday last week.  If approved, open-cut mining would turn a visually prominent part of the publicly-owned forest land in Gardens of Stone region into a moonscape.  The proposal is really just a foot in the door bid to get a larger open-cut mine going.

“This low-value, few job, high damage open-cut mining proposal should not be permitted in the Gardens of Stone region for the reasons stated previously by the Planning Assessment Commission – the conservation significance of the area.  In October 2014 the Commission previously said that the “highest and best use of the area is for conservation purposes” and that ruling is not something that can change,” Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness said.

“In recommending Manildra’s mine plan the Department of Planning and Environment condones mining of endangered species habitat for squirrel gliders, broad-headed snakes and Capertee Stringybark trees,” he said.

“The Colong Foundation will continue to oppose the proposed Invincible mine for the environmental reasons that were previously found by the Planning Assessment Commission to be unacceptable,” he said.

“Open-cut coal mining in the Gardens of Stone region has a much higher and unacceptable overall impact on the natural environment and community welfare than underground coal mining.  There are less mining jobs, and more damage,” Mr Muir said.

“Supplying the Mt Piper Power Plant with rubbish coal from the Invincible mine could accelerate closure of the Springvale mine that provides the plant with better quality thermal coal.  The Lithgow community should beware of supporting Manildra’s open-cut mining plan as it could spell doom for underground mining jobs, as well as the world-class Gardens of Stone region that surrounds Lithgow”, Mr Muir warned.

“The flatter forests are biologically important and the NSW Department of Environment and Planning has apparently misconstrued the Commission’s decision who found conservation to be the highest purpose of this forest area,” he said.

Mr Muir said that “This new open-cut coal proposal is located beside the Castlereagh Highway and so must further degrade the region’s tourist appeal if it goes ahead. 

“Manildra’s claim that only this Invincible mine is the only mine that can economically supply coal to the boiler of its Nowra plant is also too hard accept.  The special “nutt coal” argument for just boiler feedstock to make a bit of steam is “pulling a long bow”,” he said.

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

Read the NSW Department of Planning and Environment's assessment report for this high impact proposal

Caption for Image - Department says the mine is not in the Pagoda Landscape - the photo taken from the Castlereagh Highway speaks volumes on this point.