Claims by some local groups about the impact of mining subsidence on water have been challenged by the industry, who say they refuse to accept the outcome of a year-long independent expert review which found no evidence of significant subsidence impacts of local rivers, swamps, aquifers or water quality.
NSW Minerals Council chief executive Dr Nikki Williams said comments this week by the Total Environment Centre, Rivers SOS and Wollondilly Mayor, Michael Banasik, did not take account of the totality of the extensive scientific work undertaken by the Expert Panel.
Their Report states, “No evidence was presented to the Panel to support the view that subsidence impacts… have resulted in any measurable reduction in run-off to the water supply system or to otherwise represent a threat the water supply of Sydney or Illawarra region.”
The Report also states, “the coal industry has made significant advances in its understanding of and ability to predict non-conventional subsidence effects.”
Dr Williams said that the findings of the Panel clearly refute inaccurate claims that have long been promoted by some opponents of mining.
Dr Williams said that contrary to claims that the Panel’s recommendations were soft on the mining industry, the environmental assessment process would be even tougher than the current regulations.
“The recommendations mean that mining companies will be required to provide more baseline data, and to adhere to even tighter controls around protecting significant natural features,” Dr Williams said.
“The mining industry is the most heavily regulated of any industry in NSW. While our industry itself has some concerns about the implications of some of the recommendations, we will abide by the umpire’s decision to meet tougher conditions that satisfy both the Government and local community concerns.”
“It’s about time that opponents of mining also accept the umpire’s decision instead of claiming an unfair tackle,” she said.