Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

New Coalpac open-cut proposal threatens the Gardens of Stone region and the amenity of Cullen Bullen

“Coalpac, a mining company under administration, has today lodged a referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act*, 1999 to mine over 300 hectares in the Ben Bullen State Forest, next to the Cullen Bullen township.  Coalpac claims its new proposal does not need to be regulated under Federal environmental laws, despite its last proposal being over the same area that was opposed by a Planning Assessment Commission and the Department of Planning and Infrastructure,” Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness said.

“Coalpac wants to mine in stages what it was refused to mine last year.  For a company under administration to lodge a high-risk development proposal, for a very similar scheme to the one ruled as inappropriate only last year is foolhardy,” Mr Muir said. 

“We cannot be sure that Coalpac has the resources to properly undertake this highly controversial proposal in an environmentally sensitive area”, he said.

“This new open-cut mine proposal will impact upon nationally threatened species, just like the previous proposal, and it will impact on a very precious Gardens of Stone landscape that should be protected in a reserve.  The people of Cullen Bullen need to be protected from the impacts of open-cut mining and a new reserve would do just that,” said Mr Muir. 

“In September 2013 the Department of Planning and Infrastructure recommended against almost a similar proposal.  At that time the Department found that ‘the Coalpac site has significant conservation value’.  Nothing has changed to make the area of any less significance,” Mr Muir said.

“In December 2012 a Planning Assessment Commission has found that, ‘the benefits of the project are substantially outweighed by the breadth and potential magnitude of the impacts.  The Commission therefore recommends that the project should not be approved’”, said Mr Muir.

“Coalpac claims that the new proposal is to provide coal to the local power plants, but Centennial Coal is on record as saying that it can provide ample quantities of coal, as it has done in the past for decades”, Mr Muir said. 

“Coalpac should be getting its affairs in order as a company under administration should, instead of undertaking a speculative open-cut mining proposal,” said Mr Muir.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9261 2400 (wk) or 0412 791 404 (mob)

Coalpac Pty Ltd, Mining, 25km NW of Lithgow at Cullen Bullen, NSW, Invincible Colliery Modification and Cullen Valley Mine Modification