Illawarra coal miner to face court

Illawarra residents are taking coal miner Gujarat NRE to court, claiming it illegally began longwall mining earlier this year.

The group Illawarra Resident for Responsible Mining (IRRM) says a summons has been served to Gujarat which will see the company appear at the Land and Environment Court later this month, the Illawarra Mercury reports.

Kaye Osborn, spokesperson for IRRM, said it will dispute legality of Gujarat's mining of its No.4 longwall, which the group claims was down "without development approval".

"We believe that the commencement of longwall mining by Gujarat NRE in the absence of an appropriate development consent is unlawful and irresponsible," Ms Osborn said.

"The application to commence longwall mining was not put on public exhibition, and there was no opportunity for public comment."

Gujarat received approval to start longwall mining at its NRE No.1 mine in March this year.

Osborn slammed those behind the granting of this approval.

"The Department of Trade and Investment and the Department of Planning and Infrastructure have failed in their responsibility to ensure that mining approvals follow clear and transparent processes and consider the impact on residential neighbourhoods," she said.

Apart from its No.1 mine, Gujarat also received approval to expand its Wongawilli coal mine late last year.

Gujarat chairman Arun Kumar Jagatramka said the approval of the $62 million project was another milestone for the company.

"The NSW PAC has given written project approval, which allows Gujarat to mine in the Wongawilli seam in the north eastern part of the lease and also construct an underground roadway to provide access to the western portion of the lease," Jagatramka explained.

Apart from this latest legal action, the miner's chief has also come under personal attack.

In April Jagatramka's house was vandalised.

 anti-mining messages were sprayed on the front fence of Jagatramka's home.

The graffiti included the messages "carbon criminal," "I smell a gujarat," and "can't eat coal, can't drink gas," a slogan used by anti-coal seam gas lobby Lock the Gate.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.