Maules Creek mine winter clearing case adjourned

A court hearing into Whitehaven Coal’s winter clearing activity at the Maules Creek mine site has been adjourned.

Whitehaven Coal agreed to stop clearing the Leard State Forest after a hearing in the Land and Environment Court in June.

The Maules Creek Community Council (MCCC) sought an injunction to halt the miner’s operational work in the forest, near Narrabri in north-west NSW.

It said the clearing is unlawful and contravenes the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

A full case on the matter was scheduled to be heard by the court this week, however the NSW Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) agreed to defer proceedings because Whitehaven Coal has submitted a new biodiversity management plan to the NSW government which will make the court proceedings redundant if approved.

The Department of Planning and Environment is set to make a decision on the new BMP in coming weeks.

“The adjournment follows news that instead of waiting for a court decision on the legality of the biodiversity management plan, Whitehaven have decided to amend their plan entirely so that they can bulldoze Leard Forest in spring and early summer,” MCCC spokesman Phil Laird said.

Protests against the new mine have been fierce, with activists joining together to disrupt its construction in the hope that if they can hamstring the project for long enough it won’t be built.

However Whitehaven says it is committed to going ahead with its $767 million mine.

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