Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Two massive Centennial Coal proposals put drinking water and the Gardens of Stone at risk

Colong Foundation for Wilderness  Blue Mountains Conservation Society  Nature Conservation Council  Lithgow Environment Group

Centennial Coal has unveiled plans for two massive longwall projects that would pollute Sydney’s drinking water supply and undermine more than 5,000 hectares of forest and pagoda rock formations in the Newnes State Forest, north of Lithgow.

Nature Conservation Council CEO Pepe Clarke said the company’s applications were a significant risk to the environment and a slap in the face for the people of the Blue Mountains who have fought to protect its waterways from industrial pollution.

“Just three years ago, the Blue Mountains Conservation Society won a landmark legal settlement that stopped Delta Electricity’s Wallerwang power station dumping boron, zinc, arsenic and aluminium into the Coxs River,” Mr Clarke said. [1] [2]

“Now Centennial Coal plans to pump up to 43 million litres of contaminated water a day into the same river, which feeds into the Lake Burragorang, an important part of Sydney’s drinking water supply. Under the current proposal, the mine water would be released into the river untreated, despite having elevated salt and heavy metal levels.”

Mr Keith Muir, director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, said many nationally endangered shrub swamps on Newnes Plateau would be destroyed by the proposed mines.

“These mines would also put at risk 17 nationally endangered shrub swamps and 31 hanging swamps in the iconic Gardens of Stone region,” Mr Muir said. “Centennial Coal claims it can protect the shrub swamps from damage, but given the huge quantities that will be pumped to keep these two mines dry, you would be naive to believe the swamps would not be harmed.

Mr Muir said Centennial had a track record of damaging sensitive environments. In 2011, Springvale Coal and Centennial Angus Place agreed to pay $1.4 million because of the damage they caused to swamps.

Ms Tara Cameron, Senior Vice President of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, said the projects would affect Carne Creek, which has previously not been damaged by coal mining.

“The areas proposed for mining are highly sensitive environments of outstanding beauty and scientific significance. It will be a crying shame if there were wrecked,” she said. “The mining may also have an impact on the Emirates Resort, which is downstream.”

Chris Jonkers, Vice President of the Lithgow Environment Group said: “I’ve seen what Centennial Coal has done to shrub swamps on Newnes Plateau. After mining, the surface sandstone cracks and that then permanently drains the swamps.

“Where the Wolgan River drops off Newnes Plateau, a once scenic waterfall speaks the truth about Centennial’s longwall mining. Its silence is more articulate than all the mining experts’ evidence in the many volumes contained in these two environmental impact statements. Longwall coal mining has killed the Wolgan River.”

Public submissions to the plans closed yesterday, Monday, May 26.

 

MEDIA CONTACTS

Nature Conservation Council                      Media Officer James Tremain                     0419 272 254

Colong Foundation for Wilderness           Director Keith Muir                                         0412 791 404

Blue Mountains Conservation Society    Senior Vice President Tara Cameron       0419 824 974

Lithgow Environment Group                       Vice President Chris Jonkers                       6355 1179
 

REFERENCES

[1] http://www.smh.com.au/environment/water-issues/power-company-says-river-pollution-to-stop-20111017-1ltdz.html#ixzz2ypHZnvzn

[2] http://www.edonsw.org.au/pollution_cases

 

MORE INFORMATION

Submissions objecting to these mining places by the Colong Foundation for wilderness

Springvale Colliery EIS: http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/page/development-categories/mining--petroleum---extractive-industries/mining/?action=view_job&job_id=5594

Angus Place Colliery EIS: http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/page/development-categories/mining--petroleum---extractive-industries/mining/?action=view_job&job_id=5602