Wallarah coal battle continues

A private members bill regarding the Wallarah 2 Mining project put forward by Independent Member for Dobell Craig Thompson has been rejected by Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Thompson wants the Federal Government to stop the export licence of KoRes, the South Korean backer of the mine.

Gillard told parliament she understands Thompson’s concerns “we do not think that private members bill is the appropriate road to go down’, ABC reported.

"We do think the appropriate road to go down to get this right for the community of the Central Coast and for communities around the country is what we are intending to do through federal government environmental law," she said.

The Wallarah 2 Coal project is a contentious underground mine located in the Wyong area.

For a number of years the mine and KoRes have seen serious opposition to the proposed project.

The mine first sought approvals from the state government in 2011 but was rejected due to a number of 'unresolved concerns' regarding its impact on the water catchment, subsidence, and ecological impacts.

The mine plans to operate under the water catchment areas of Dooralong and Yarramalong Valleys.

In opposition, Premier Barry O’Farrell guaranteed that no such mine would be considered.

Coal Alliance spokesman, Allan Hayes recently called on the Premier to stand by his promise.

"Or an actual prima facie case exists for action under those promises," Hayes said.

However, O’Farrell played down the issues.

"So what we said is we wouldn't allow water catchments to be threatened and we don't intend to have any water catchments threatened," he told a community meeting earlier this year.

Resources and Central Coast Minister Chris Hartcher has also refused to reject a new application for the coal project.

Hartcher yesterday said he "always maintained the importance of protecting the Central Coast's water supply".

"If the proposal by Kores is not found to satisfy (planning) requirements – that is the protection of our water supply and our community – then the project would not be deemed suitable to proceed."

Hayes said the government had backflipped on its promise and was now "playing cute" with its words, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Speaking to Australian Mining last year, Wallarah's former general manager Kerry Heywood said that concerns over its impact on water were misplaced.

"Public concern has been on our effect on the water catchment, but the project and planning commission said in its report that there will be a minimal impact to the region's water, but opponents to the mine keep saying it will have a devastating impact.

"This isn't the case – we don't operate under water, our operations are only under a very small area of the catchment and won't have a serious impact on the water supply.

Coal Alliance stated previously that "no matter what the company says or does it is clear that there will be an impact and they can't escape from that".

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