Camberwell coal mine plan renewed

A previously rejected open cut coal mine has been revived after a court approved an appeal from the miner.

The Independent Planning Assessment Commission will now reconsider Ashton Coal’s Camberwell coal mine in the Hunter Valley, the Newcastle Herald reports.

The proposed mine was originally rejected last year, after objections were raised over its noise and dust, and the impact it would have on groundwater.

The mine had also seen a high level of opposition from local community groups.

Hunter Environment Lobby member Bev Smiles said the community was concerned with potential impacts on water systems and the amount of dust from the mine.

Smiles said it was unlikely the workers would struggle to find other employment given the labour shortage in the mining industry.

A traditional Aboriginal group in the New South Wales Hunter Valley began legal action last year against Ashton Coal for allegedly damaging a significant site.

The mine near Camberwell has resulted in some complicated debates within local indigenous groups, who engaged in a slinging match about who has the right to comment on the issue.

The Wonnarua Nation aboriginal corporation tsaid a group of protesters calling themselves the “Plains Clans of the Wonnarua People” were also not representative of the Indigenous community in the region.

The NSW Department of Planning has twice rejected the mine’s approval before the Commission also knocked it back.

However the Land and Environment Court has since ruled that Commission’s judgement "is void and of no effect".

The court believed that the Commission had no considered supplementary information from the Department regarding the project, which was provided only three hours after it was rejected in 2011.


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