BHP wants talks with State Opposition over National Park

The NSW State Opposition says if it is elected in March they will declare the Dharawal State conservation area a National Park so it can never be mined.

The  NSW State Opposition says if it is elected in March they will declare the Dharawal State conservation area a National Park so it can never be mined.

But BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal says it will not give up its lease on the area, north west of Wollongong, after revising its plans to mine there in October  following a report by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission that found mining would cause irreversible damage to the area.

Company president Colin Bloomfield says that after conducting research, they will submit another mining proposal for the area.

"We’d certainly be looking to continue our research," he said.

"You know there’s adjacent miners who are mining in very similar areas directly under reservoirs.

"In fact we don’t think that we should be singled out on this occasion"

Bloomfield said he was unaware of the State Opposition’s plans to declare the area a National Park and would want a meeting with the leader as soon as possible if they were elected.

"We’re just disappointed we haven’t been consulted on this before it’s been announced and we’re really just probably like everyone else  – just in the dark about what actually is being planned and what area is being covered or how big this is".

The Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell says he’d be happy to meet up with the  miner .

"I’m happy to sit down with BHP but we  will start from a position that we’re determined to protect the sensitive area that should be protected and we think the National Park status is appropriate".

Julie Sheppard from environment group Rivers SOS says BHP Billiton should give up their leases and support protection of the area forever.

"If they are really listening to community concerns they would also then be happy relinquish their leases and allow the area to become a national park," she said.

"And I think if BHP wants to save any face or gain any mileage in terms of the PR coup here they could set themselves up as responsible corporate citizens and actually welcome this."

 

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