Coal mine expansion battle

The expansion of the Ulan coal mine has hit a stumbling block as an environmental lobby appeals its application.

The expansion of the Ulan coal mine has hit a stumbling block as an environmental lobby appeals its application.

The Hunter Valley Environmental Lobby has appealed against the $880 million expansion of Xstrata’s central west mine, which will see it double coal production from approximately 10 million tonnes per annum to around 20 million tonnes.

Jan Davis, president of the Lobby, has voiced her concern of the effect that the mine, located near Mudgee and at the headwaters of the Goulburn River, will have on the waterway.

“The plan that the government has given them is to go ahead and double its size and there’s been no rigorous scientific look at the effects of this on the environment or on communities at all,” she said.

“It’s just open slather, go right ahead and double your size.”

However, the Department of Planning countered this, saying that a range of conditions have been implemented by the government to ensure the impacts of the mine are mitigated and offset.

Xstrata is required to compensate any landowners whose water supply and access have been affected, and must also protect the waterway’s surrounding streams.

Davis retorted that these conditions are not enough.

"Those conditions from our observations haven’t made one iota of difference to any of the mines that we’ve objected to so we’re very sceptical about conditions having any real impact on the rate of take from the mine or any damage done to the environment.”

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