Bylong Valley coal mine to relocate graves

A Korean power company, last month shown to have falsified photos in a NSW environmental impact statement, is now expected to try to move graves and a church in the Bylong Valley.

Locals have been outraged at plans for a new coal mine proposed by KEPCO, which will affect the Upper Bylong Catholic Church and nearby cemetery, both listed on the State Heritage Register and National Trust.

Bylong Valley Protection Alliance secretary Craig Shaw said the state planning minister should closely scrutinise KEPCO’s fitness to build and operate the proposed Bylong coal mine.

“The disinterment and relocation of at least five graves is confronting for the descendant families and it’s clear that KEPCO is not being completely upfront about its obligations when it comes to these historic graves,” Shaw said.

Shaw contended that KEPCO has not informed families involved with the graves of a Catholic Church covenant which requires that the graves must be maintained.

Last month it was found that KEPCO submitted false photographs in their environmental impact statement for the mine, showing pictures of flat fields rather than the rocky, hilly terrain of the actual proposed site.

KEPCO has purchased 30 properties over the past three years, including land on which the cemetery is located.

KEPCO Bylong Australia CEO Bill Vatovec said the relocation of the graves was a sensitive issue and would be worked through with the families.

Bylong Valley was to be the site of the Cascade Coal mine proposal, the licence for which was revoked by the Independent Commission Against Corruption after investigations into the business dealings of Eddie Obeid.

However the present mineral exploration licences, first issued in the 80s, were purchased by KEPCO in 2010.

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