The latest annual report from the NSW Department of Planning has recorded a trebling in the number of actions taken against coal mines.
The 2009 – 10 annual report highlighted 18 actions taken against coal mines up to June 2010, a jump from five last year.
Despite this it only carried out one prosecution, against Moolarben Coal Mine in the State’s Central West.
The miner pleaded guilty to clearing 4.1 hectares of vegetation outside of its boundary.
It was fined $70 000 and ordered to pay costs of $50 000.
During the year, the Department also made a number of amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy relating to mining.
In September 2009 it revised the definition of underground mining, broadening the scope to include: drill holes, gas and water drainage works, and surface rehabilitation works.
A new definition was also introduced for open cut mining to make it clear that it is not type of underground mining.
During May 2010, it included additional amendments to prohibit extractive industries (particularly sand mining) in Somersby due to the close proximity to schools and residential areas.
It also prohibited open cut mining at Bickham to prevent negative impacts upon the Pages River and local ground water reserves.