PAC rejects Drayton South Coal Project - but it is not final

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

PAC rejects Drayton South Coal Project - but it is not final

Postby HVPA_research » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:21 pm

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An interesting observation to the Drayton South PAC decision was quoted in Singleton Argus
"PAC rejects Drayton South Coal Project".
It shows that the PAC decision is far from final. The government intentions are (our emphasis):
In a media statement from the Department of Planning and Infrastructure says this is one step in a comprehensive assessment of the proposal – albeit an important one – and no final decision has been made.

The Department of Planning and Infrastructure's assessment of the project is ongoing and the department will now give careful consideration to the PAC report, alongside other important input such as public submissions, stakeholder input and the company's response to issues raised.

Once the department finalises its assessment, it will make a recommendation to a differently-constituted panel of the PAC for a final decision.

In other words, the Department will keep re-assessing the Drayton South expansion, which is in fact a new mine (see below), until it is approved but nobody could be blamed for any negative consequences. We hear all the time about "cutting the red tape", "cutting the green tape", and simplification of the mining approval process. Unfortunately, these claimns are not real they are just a shadow play. In fact everyone loves the process complexity. No politician or public servant is brave enough to stand up and declare openly: "We are going to approve this foreign-owned coal mine and, as a consequence, destroy the horse breeding industry or the local village that stand in the way ". No, they are going to talk exquisitely about sustainability, co-existence, responsibility, stakeholders, values of the resource and many other noble ideas. In the process they create a thicket of regulations so complex and wild that nobody could be ever blamed for anything if things go bad as it often happens in this world. They all, politicians, regulators, consultants, lobbyists and lawyers love it. It is a whole self-contained and self-interested industry, that may perhaps rival the mining industry itself in size! Who, besides the people living around the dusty mines, would like to change it?

Yet, to remove all this complexity would not be all that hard. All we need to do is to put a real economical value on forests, villages and rural lands. Their value is not zero, it is not an insignificant externality as the mining industry would like to have it. The values of these "externalities " aver very real that a forward-looking society should consider them very carefully. After all, coal is not a precious mineral. You can find it just about anywhere in the old sedimentary basins between Sydney and Townsville. it should be possible to mine it responsibly. It is the government's job to make sure that this actually happens. There should be clear buffer zones around towns and villages, genuine protection of valuable agricultural land and industries. genuine protection of our rivers and forrest. There should be no-go areas where the miners would not even bother to explore because they would know that the regulations are firm and that it is not worth trying to bend them. Of course, in such a simplified mine approval system there are sure to be huge job losses amongst the courtiers who at present hugely benefit. Would they be willing to retrain to drive the dump trucks in the outback?

There is also an insightful comment linked to this article that should not be missed:
By: Liesandmorelies• a month ago
The story that this mine is "only an extension" or the comments above, that they plan to "continue their operations into the southern part of their existing mine lease once current production ceased in 2015." are blatantly false and misleading.

This new mine lease has until recent times been known as the "Saddlers Creek" lease it is a number of Klm's away from and separate to their current operation with a new landscape and completely new neighbours. It was only renamed "Drayton South" for the purposes of enabling a better angle of pretence of an extension. Name changes are an old and tried tactic when trying to distract and convince the public of the substance of a Furphy, a bit like someone p....g up your back and telling you its raining.

The location chosen by the Government and created as a lease is a disaster for both the Miner who bought it and is trying to get mining approved and the Horse studs that would be driven out if it is approved. Again the NSW Government has created another social and environmental war with this mess due to their dodgy mining creation and approval process, there are no winners here only one business trying to displace another, pitted against each other in a fight to the death by more incompetent Government decisions. With one big exception the miners have the love of the Government who write the laws and control the approval process.

Until now the Government would just step in and create a new law and kick those obstructing the flow of royalties out the area to ensure the Miners win at any cost.
Seems here the long time resident to be evicted isn't a voiceless endangered forest, struggling farming community or rural village but has the means to kick back and fight fire with fire.

This will be interesting.
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