$600m NSW coal mine proposal at Wyong scuttled

Social, legal and health issues related to unrestrained expansion of coal mines in Australia.

$600m NSW coal mine proposal at Wyong scuttled

Postby HVPA_research » Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:26 am

The following important news item from Rivers SOS Alliance chatlist (http://riverssos.org.au/, rivers-sos@googlegroups.com) has been archived here for the benefit of HVPA Members. There are not many cases in the history of NSW coal mining where a mining proposal has been rejected. Planning Minister Tony Kelly says water and subsidence issues led to his refusal. Well, he is right there but the same logic should be applied in many other critical areas.

Woohoo! Big congrats to folks on the Central Coast after years of hard work campaigning!

$600m NSW coal mine proposal scuttled
4th March 2011


The New South Wales Government has refused permission for a $600 million coal mine in a key central coast electorate.
Mining firm Kores, which is owned by the South Korean Government, had planned to extract 5 million tonnes of coal a year from the Wallarah 2 mine, near Wyong.

The long wall mine was also expected to employ 300 people.

Planning Minister Tony Kelly says water and subsidence issues led to his refusal.

"The Planning Assessment Commission had suggested it could go ahead with a significant number of conditions that could be worked out later on, and I believe there were too many uncertainties," Mr Kelly said.

Alan Hayes from the Australian Coal Alliance says locals were united in their resistance, from the Wyong Council to businesses and residents.

"I think there will be champagne corks popping today," Mr Hayes said.

Wyong's sitting Labor MP David Harris had objected to the mine, while the State Opposition had promised to block it.

Labor holds the seat by a margin of 6.9 per cent over the Liberal Party.

Mr Kelly's decision to refuse permission comes just two days after he moved in favour of the Barangaroo development in central Sydney.

The minister issued an order of Wednesday that weakens a legal challenge to the project in the state's Land and Environment Court.

State Government rejects Kores coal mine plan for Wyong
4 Mar 11 @ 02:32pm by ERROL SMITH

The NSW Government today rejected the Wallarah 2 coal mine proposal near Wyong due to unresolved concerns regarding subsidence, water, ecological and heritage impacts.

This is despite a Planning Assessment Commission recommendation that it be approved.

NSW Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, said the proponent, the Korean-based company Kores working as the Wyong Areas Coal Joint Venture, had not adequately demonstrated the mine could go ahead without unacceptable environmental risk.

``The reality is, despite a lengthy and rigorous assessment, there remained simply too much uncertainty about the mines potential risks and, as such, I have decided the mine should not be approved,” the Minister said.

``The assessment process has been extensive, with a review undertaken by the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC), and an independent assessor outside of the Department of Planning engaged to assist in preparation of the final report.

``I am confident the right decision has now been made.”

Wyong State Labor MP David Harris hailed the decision as a victory for common sense.

He said it had vindicated his position to oppose the project since 2007.

The coal mine issue first raised its head 15 years ago and some, like Mike Campbell of the Australian Coal Alliance, has been actively fighting the proposal since that time.

He described the announcement as a victory for the community who had repeatedly said they didn’t want the mine.

Wyong mayor Doug Eaton said the council’s surveys had shown that 82 per cent of the population were opposed to the mine.

There’s specualtion that the Korean company Kores, which had made the application may now be considering options to apply for new mining rights in the Gunnedah basin.

Congratulations to the activists in the Australian Coal Alliance, from Rivers SOS !

The ACA was one of our first support groups, when Rivers SOS was formed in 2005, and we have kept in touch with Alan Hayes, Ron Sokolowski and Mike Campbell ever since - in fact we have picked their brains for advice and information. At that time they had emerged victorious over CSG issues, going under the name of Australian Gas Alliance, and now, re-named the Australian Coal Alliance, they've had another triumph with Tony Kelly's decision today to refuse approval for Wallarah 2.

They have run a full-on, relentless and ultimately successful campaign against the Kores mine plan. Other groups can benefit from their experience and tactics, and to this end Alan Hayes has agreed to speak at the next Rivers SOS regional meeting at Toronto on 2 April. We'll have this opportunity to celebrate something for a change, and find out how it was done.

Rivers SOS people have enjoyed playing a (very tiny) part in the ACA campaign - our "Rivers of Shame" DVD was screened at a big public meeting in Wyong Civic Centre three years ago, with Maurice Blackwood speaking on experiences in the Southern Coalfield,we have written supportive submissions and we spoke against the Kores mine plan at the recent Planning Assessment Commission hearing in Wyong. Their local ALP MP David Harris helped Rivers SOS to organise one of our first regional meetings at Ourimbah, and he later led a Rivers SOS delegation to see Kristina Kenneally, then Minister for Planning - part of David's attempts to convince the ALP that the Kores mine had widespread oppostion. His seat hangs in the balance, but today's news will help - he has been steadfast in his opposition to the mine.

All this makes the victory especially sweet. Solidarity feels good today.

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