Yancoal’s Ashton East court appeal rejected

An expansion of Yancoal’s Ashton South East open cut coal mine will not go ahead after their appeal against environmental conditions was dismissed by the NSW Supreme Court.

The expansion was governed by a set of environmental conditions which necessitated the purchase of a Hunter Valley property owned by Mrs Wendy Bowman, a property adjacent to the mine would have been used to facilitate rehabilitation at the end of the mine life.

Mrs Bowman steadfastly refused to sell her 182-hectare property Rosedale, which led to Yancoal appealing the 2014 Land and Environment Court decision which required access to the property.

Ashton South East was initially rejected by the NSW Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) in 2011, however the proposal was granted PAC approval in 2012.

Environmental Defender’s Office NSW principal solicitor Sue Higginson said the decision reinforced the importance of court-enforced conditions designed to protect the environment.

“It’s a timely reminder of how our laws can foster ecologically sustainable development,” she said.

“So often we need our laws to strike a balance between economic and ecological needs.”

Hunter Environment Lobby spokesperson Bev Smiles said the group was delighted that the Land and Environment Court conditions had been upheld.

“The condition about Wendy’s property is really important – it shows that communities can have a voice in big developments such as this,” she said.

“We’d like to thank EDO NSW for all their help in securing this decision.”

Earlier this month a spokesperson for Yancoal said the company would assess the current market situation and business case for Ashton South East pending the outcome of the appeal.