Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Miners put Gardens of Stone under siege

In the last few months four major coal mining proposals in the Gardens of Stone region have come forward. So now the fate of this outstanding region, which is part of the original 1932 Greater Blue Mountains National Park proposal, largely rests with these mining plans. 

Coalpac has proposed to restart its Cullen Valley and Invincible mines, and Centennial Coal has proposed major expansions of underground longwall mining at its Angus Place and Springvale collieries. There is also a plan to expand the Airly Mine under the Muggi Murum-ban State Conservation Area in the Capertee Valley.

The Colong Foundation's submissions to all four damaging proposals are below.

Coalpac back from the dead

The Coalpac proposal has come back after rejection of previous mine expansion plans due to a second amendment in the Department of Planning and Infrastructure’s original refusal. The Department reluctantly accepted that there ‘may be merit in allowing a smaller extension that avoids the most sensitive parts of the site.’

While under administration Coalpac has secured enough funds to prepare and lodge two modification proposals to mine 315 hectares. 

Centennial Coal puts the Newnes Plateau and drinking water supplies at risk

Centennial Coal plans two massive longwall projects that would pollute Sydney’s drinking water supply and undermine 4,500 hectares of forest and pagoda rock formations in the Newnes State Forest. Centennial plans to pump, untreated, up to 43.8 million litres of contaminated mine effluent, releasing 30 tonnes of salt a day into the Coxs River which is part of Sydney’s main drinking water supply. Angus Place has also made a further modification proposal that seeks to establish the intensity of its longwall mining in the sensitive Carne Creek catchment before the Planning Assessment Commission has looked at these proposals.

These mines will put at risk 17 shrub swamps and 46 hanging swamps, all of which are nationally endangered. The swamps are damaged when the coal mining by longwall machines fracture the underlying sandstone rock. Once the surface sandstone rock is fractured the swamps dry out, collapse and die.

The Colong Foundation is working with the Blue Mountains Conservation Soceity and the Lithgow Environment Group to reserve 40,000 hectares of the Gardens of Stone in a state conservation area, and will confinue to fight to stop the damage to this outstanding natural area.

Airly Mine extension

Centennial plan to extend its Airly Mine and the current proposal is for mining. The existing development consent allowing 1.8 metres of vertical subsidence must be replaced with provisions that allow minimal subsidence at no more than 125mm subsidence.