Moolarben Coal working on conservation plan for The Drip

Moolarben Coal said they are working on a conservation plan for the area around The Drip in central west New South Wales.

The gorge on the Goulburn River is within the mine’s lease area, with local environmental groups calling for the site to be included as part of the nearby national park.

They fear mine subsidence has the potential to ruin the iconic site.

However Moolarben Coal's environmental manager Luke Bowden said there is a mining buffer around The Drip, adding that it is already considered a conservation area, ABC reported.

"Our stage one project approval for Moolarben Coal was granted in 2007," he said.

"Part of the conditions that the Department of Planning put on us was we put together a biodiversity offset package.

"Now within that package sits The Drip and the surrounding lands, so we immediately put a conservation agreement to the department that we would be conserving that area."

Moolarben Coal has defended the 500 metre mining buffer around the site, near Ulan.

Bowden said the buffer went through an extensive environmental process.

"By a raft or experts, specialists, consultants and these were then scrutinised by government agencies and non-government agencies," he said.

"Even the community had an opportunity to discuss and scrutinise these buffer zones.

"It then went to a PAC and on top of that, it want to an independent expert panel."

Moolarben Coal says it is working on a conservation plan for the Goulburn River gorge.

"We've been working most recently with a range of government agencies to come up with the best conservation for that area, so ensure the community as a whole benefits," Bowden said.

"We're hopefully coming a resolution relatively soon, but it is quite a complex process.

"The end objective for us, is to ensure we put forward a project that the whole community benefits from."

Orange MP Andrew Gee said discussions had been occurring between the NSW Government departments involved in the process about the best way to proceed but a resolution has not been reached.

“I obviously want to get The Drip handed back to the community as soon as possible but  unfortunately we do have these bureaucratic processes which need to be worked through  and although the process is taking longer than I would have liked, there does seem to have  been some recent progress,” he said.

“It’s not easy getting government departments on the same page”, Gee said. 

“They haven’t necessarily been on the same page to date, but they are still working at it, which is a positive.

“The community is obviously keen for some more detail about what is happening with the The Drip and as soon as I have those details I will let the community know.”


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