Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Mine Water storage plan welcomed but discharge of toxic mine water must cease

“The elimination of mine water discharges to the Coxs River is something that every Sydney water consumer should welcome.  Today’s announcement by Centennial Coal and Energy Australia that treated discharges from the Springvale mine to the river “will no longer be required” is a good step but more work is required,” said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

The new Scheme must treat more mine water

“Following discussions with the Environment Protection Authority and Prof Don White of Sydney University in May, the Colong Foundation commissioned advanced engineering students from the University to examine ways to augment this water treatment scheme.  This week the students delivered a report that found Springvale’s coal services area can discharge up to 125 tonnes of dissolved salts each day, and this maximum discharge is many times the pollution that today’s announcement has dealt with from the actual mine.  This highly toxic discharge must also be treated and reused in the Mt Piper power plant”, Mr Muir said. 

“While the Blue Mountains Conservation Society and the Colong Foundation welcome today’s decision, Centennial Coal is required to address all sources of mine water pollution through an Upper Coxs River Action Plan.  Today’s announcement eliminates just one source of mine pollution through reuse in the power plant,” Mr Muir said.

“The new storage proposal must be improved to maximise removal of mine water from the Coxs River through reuse in the power plant.  The students found that the proposed toxic mine water elimination scheme is significantly undersized.  The joint Centennial Coal/EnergyAustralia proposal does not even meet the plant’s average daily water demand requirements of 40ML/day and has no capacity for demand growth”, said Mr Muir.

“The students identified a set of priorities for further treatment of additional sources of toxic mine water discharged into the Coxs River.  They have identified a mine water ‘elephant in the room’ - the toxic discharge from the Springvale coal services area”, said Mr Muir.

“We urge Centennial Coal and Energy Australia to greatly expand capacity of their scheme to treat and reuse more mine water in the power plant, as is required under the Action Plan, and reuse coal services area runoff as a priority”, he said.

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

THOMPSONS CREEK RESERVOIR OPTION VIABLE, Centennial Coal and Energy Australia media release November 9, 2016