Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Twice defeated Invincible Coal Mine seeks to open-cut the Gardens of Stone

A special thank you to all 1644 objectors who wrote to the Planning Assessment Commission opposing Manildra's Invincible mine proposal to restart open-cut mining in the woodlands of the Gardens of Stone. 

Manildra says it needs to get the “Invincible” mine restarted to run its ethanol plant efficiently, but the Australia Institute has revealed that over 80% of the value of the proposed mine is coal for the Mt Piper Power Plant. 

Rod Campbell of the Australia Institute reported to the Planning Assessment Commission that ‘The main economic effect of re-starting the Invincible mine will be EnergyAustralia’s ability to negotiate lower coal prices with Centennial. The real beneficiaries will be EnergyAustralia’s overseas shareholders, not the NSW community who will also bear the risks and costs of a degraded environment.’ (TAI submission)

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness believes the mine will be a disaster for the Gardens of Stone. ‘It will cause significant and disproportionately large environmental impacts to a sensitive area of woodland in return for a disproportionately small amount of coal product.  The coal resource has been greatly depleted by past underground mining and only a tenth of the remaining coal is suitable for use in Manildra’s plant near Nowra 300 kilometres away from the proposed mine north-west of Lithgow.' (Colong submission

On October 17, 2014 a Planning Assessment Commission chaired by Mr Gary West determined that the “highest and best use of the area is for conservation purposes” and that ruling is not challenged by the evidence used to justify the NSW Department of Planning and Environment's recent recommendation for restarting the mine.

The Colong Foundation not only provided detailed evidence that the above PAC ruling applies to proposed mining area. The Foundation submitted evidence that Manildra received $543,379,313 in Commonwealth ethanol production grants but did not fund a refit of its boiler to use cheap, non-specialised coal. No wonder this grants program was criticised by the Auditor General for not delivering on the promised benefits. (Auditor Gen's report)

The proposal is all about getting open-cut going that will benefit China Power and Light (EnergyAustralia) and prop up management at the Manildra plant. If approved the proposed mine will rapidly destroy a public forest of “special significance” and risk sackings at the Springvale mine.

This should be a 10 out of 10 bad mine proposal, but the Foundation suspects it will be granted development consent, and then just about any open-cut mining proposal in the Gardens of Stone region can be approved, which would be devasting.

The Australia Institute Submissions

The Colong Foundation Submissions

Auditor General’s 2015 The Ethanol Production Grants Program Performance Audit