Push to block Wyong coal mine

 A new proposal from Wallarah 2 Coal is unlikely to go ahead as tougher laws are brought into place.

The miner is again looking to put forth a proposal to mine under the Yarramalong and Dooralong valleys on New South Wales’ Central Coast, according the Express Advocate.

New requirements issued by the NSW Planning and Infrastructure department are reportedly more stringent than those previously in place.

According to opponents of the mine, it is unlikely that Wyong Areas will be able to meet this higher standard.

Australian Coal Alliance spokesperson Alan Hayes told the Advocate that "it’s all about the impact on the water supply.

"No matter what the company says or does it is clear there will be an impact and they can’t escape from that.

"The issues are quite complex but the director-general has listened to the community and wants rigorous requirements met before any application for mining is lodged,” he said. “We doubt very much that those requirements can be met, he added"

However, the miner refuted this, stating that "the project’s refusal by former minister for planning, Tony Kelly, was not about any impact on the region’s water supply.

"This was because four separate assessments concluded that any potential impacts from the proposed mine on the region’s water supply system were minimal and none justified refusal."

Kerry Heywood, Wallarah 2’s general manager stated that "water was not an issue in the previous determination".

"The O’Farrell government’s commitment to an independent process free from political interference is entirely consistent with safeguarding the environment and the water supply," Heywood said.

In a previous interview with Australian Mining, the miner stated that one of the major problems that the mine faced was how to extract its JORC resource of 1.2 billion tonnes of thermal coal with out contaminating or adversely affecting the local water tables and ground water.

As it is mining under Tuggerah Lake, the Jilliby State forest as well as the Dooralong Valley, Wallarah chose to mine only a fraction of its resource.

Wallarah 2 director Peter Smith said the Wallarah Coal project was “designed for the water in the area”.

According to a Government inquiry into the mine last year, “while longwall mining is likely to cause subsidence-related impacts, because of the depth of the coal seams, this subsidence is unlikely to compromise in any significant way the water supply.”

The miner did at that potential impacts on water supply, and the dust and noise issues were the two major concerns from the community.

Wyong Areas’ massive Wallarah 2 coal project had been originally rejected in March last year, but saw a revival in October following its backer – KoRes – seeking approval from the state government.

Heywood said the mine’s owners met with NSW premier Barry O’Farrell who had "reiterated the government’s commitment to merit based planning processes".

Soon after this Craig Thomson, the embattled Federal member for Wyong, called for the state government to ban all coal mining in the region.

Thomson said the government must legislate “to stop coal mining once and for all in the valleys of Wyong Shire.

“Mr O’Farrell made a clear promise that he would stop the mine if elected but this promise must be backed by legislation now,” Thomson said.

“Otherwise we will see time and money wasted because the community will again have to fight this coal mine plan and again prove that our water supply must be protected.”

The rejection and Thomson’s statements were welcomed by environmentalists.

Lake Macquarie mayor and fellow MP Greg Piper, who was against the mine, stated that it was initially rejected on "very doubtful reasons".

Wallarah is planning to present its application some time in the first half of the year.

 

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