Tarrawonga Coal Mine Extension Approved

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The Department of Planning has recommended that the Tarrawonga Coal mine expansion is approved despite serious issues with the mine and its preferred project plan.

The open cut mine project plan includes the re-routing of Goonbri Creek, an important source of ground water for the Boggabri Township, further impacting Leard State Forest and leaving a 55 Ha Toxic groundwater sump rather than fully remediating the site.

This is a typical project plan from Whitehaven. Like the nearby Maules Creek project, Whitehaven plan to leave a giant hole in the ground to fill with heavy metals and toxic ground water over the coming century’s.

Filling in these holes is the cost of doing business for mining in the 21st century but Whitehaven and the Department of Planning are handing these costs over to the environment and the community to bear in perpetuity when the company moves on.

The PAC ordered Boggabri Coal to fill their pit in, but Whitehaven are not forced to do so. We will be writing to the Independent Scientific Committee to ensure that Whitehaven pay for their impact on the ground water resources and the environment for all their projects.

Unlike the adjacent Maules Creek and the Boggabri Coal projects, the Tarrawonga extension will be subject to full merits appeal rights in the Land and Environment Court. This highlights the inconsistency of the Planning Process under Planning Minister Brad Hazzard.

This haphazard approach to planning gives us no confidence in the new regime at all. Why Maules Creek and Boggabri are excluded from the Land and Environment Court and Tarrawonga included when the cumulative environmental impacts are so severe will be the subject of future inquiries. Watch this space.

Note:

  •  PAC Meeting at Boggabri Golf Club – Friday 14.12.2012 9.30 AM,
  • Commissioners, Gabrielle Kibble, Joe woodward and Brian Gilligan presiding
  • Register for submissions before 1 PM Tuesday 11.12.2012