Glencore gets remediation notice over cement spill

Mining conglomerate Glencore received a notice on Wednesday afternoon to clean up a huge cement spill in a Sugarloaf State Conservation Area in the lower Hunter.

The spill happened in June when the company was carrying our remediation of mine subsidence harm.

The Newcastle Herald revealed mine subsidence had damaged a huge portion of Sugarloaf due to excessive mine subsidence from Glencore’s West Wallsend Colliery.

The destruction was due to unexpected subsidence from longwall mining by the Colliery.

The day after the revelation, the Office of Environment and Heritage gave Glencore an official remediation order, reported the Newcastle Herald.

The department’s spokesman said it was looking into regulatory action, even prosecution.

Cliff faces have disintegrated, a waterway has been damaged and large cracks have emerged in the ground and a hillside has also fallen apart.

Destruction was found over more than two kilometres within the conservation vicinity near the mine’s Longwall 41.

Huge portions of the reserve have been barricaded with security guards guarding two access points 24 hours a day.

The underground mine has been running since 1969 in the Wakefield region.

“Occasionally, surface cracking and rock falls occur as a result of underground mining,” a mine spokesman said.

“Because of this, we develop subsidence management plans that are approved by all relevant authorities, to appropriately manage and remediate affected areas.”

National Parks Association Hunter president Ian Donovan said the mine destruction is “completely unacceptable”.

“This would be totally unacceptable in an urban environment, but it appears to be acceptable at least to mining companies, in a state conservation area,” he said.

“This is depriving people of enjoyment of the conservation area, let alone to impacts on a highly sensitive area of the range.”

Officials from the state environment department expressed apprehension over the destruction the mine could cause on creeks in the conservation area, and asked Xstrata, now merged with Glencore, to not mine at low depth in the conservation area.

According to surveys, the conservation area protects 16 threatened species like the spotted-tailed quoll, the brown treecreeper, black-chinned honeyeater and the east-coast freetail-bat.

Xstrata said to the planning department cracking was only likely in an 84-hectare area, which is less than 11 per cent of the mining vicinity.

It said subsidence falls would be up to 2.5 metres over its operations.

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