Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Invincible mine to restart open-cut mining in Gardens of Stone area

The Planning and Assessment Commission has just approved open-cut mining in the beautiful Gardens of Stone area. The information below was sent to us today by the Blue Mountains Conservation Society. 

On Monday 5 February 2018, the independent Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) decided that Invincible mine can restart open-cut mining in the Gardens of Stone area and in the former Coalpac proposal area. The area is beside the Castlereagh Highway and will extend the Invincible’s current devastated moonscape. 
In 2014 the PAC rejected a larger open cut proposal including this area saying that the highest and best use of the land was conservation. 
Mine owners, Manildra Group, argued that the mine should reopen to supply coal to their Shoalhaven factory to assist in making ethanol for petrol blends.  Even though they are already using alternate coal supplies. 
The approval observes a buffer zone around nearby pagodas but, very importantly, it does not protect the total pagoda landscape complex from permanent destruction.  (Previous PACs recognised that the slopes and associated woodlands associated with the pagoda formations were essential for the protection of the animals and plants including threatened species). 
The endangered Purple Copper Butterfly, ‘one of Australia’s rarest butterflies' uses the land to be mined.  However, the PAC has said mining can go ahead and has agreed that the butterflies’ essential habitat, a Bursaria spinosa subspecies and the associated anthills, is removed and replanted elsewhere in a 'translocation trial'. This is highly unlikely to work and will put this rare and beautiful butterfly at further risk. 
The loss of habitat for the endangered broad headed snake will most likely be compensated for by the mine paying money into the NSW government’s species conservation fund. This decision will open the door to further destructive open cut mining proposals in the area. 
We totally oppose the destruction of the conservation values of the unprotected Gardens of Stone region.  The Society will continue to seek full protection of the Gardens of Stone Stage 2 Proposal area as State Conservation Areas.

You can read more about this devastating decision in this Sydney Morning Herald article.

The Planning and Assessment Commission's determination report can be found here.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Springvale mine extension blocked in NSW Court of Appeal

Some good news! New South Wales Government approval for the extension of this coalmine, which environmentalists say would have contaminated Sydney's water supply, has been overturned in court.

You can also read the EDO's report here, and the full judgement here

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Global demand for coal falls in 2016 for second year in a row

UK leads trend away from coal, with use down 52.5%, while China continues to consume less of the dirtiest fossil fuel...

Global demand for coal has fallen for the second consecutive year, according to a BP study, helped by the US and China burning less of the dirtiest fossil fuel.

Read the full article at the Guardian.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Two exploratory drill holes to be completed within the 'Inglenook' coal exploration area this year

The following message was sent to us via CCC chair, Margaret MacDonald-Hill from James Marshall at Centennial Coal regarding exploratory drilling proposed this year for the 'Inglenook' project:

The Inglenook Exploration program has received funds allowing for the drilling of two (2) exploration drill holes.  The two drill sites are located within EL7431 and EL7432

The purpose of the drilling program is to assess:
· geotechnical information;
· resource definition; and
· coal quality.

Due diligence inspections for both sites are to be completed by mid June 2017 and the current schedule is for the drilling to commence September 2017 and be completed by end of October 2017.

An ESF-4 Application will be completed for Common Exploration Activity.  This constitutes a Review of Environmental Factors (REF) for each of the proposed drill sites.

Once the drilling is completed both drill holes will be sealed and the sites will be fully rehabilitated. 

As more information becomes available, we will post details on the blog.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Rally to save Wollar at Mudgee Town Hall, 10 am Tuesday 11 April

The close-knit community of Wollar has already endured a decade of suffering from nearby Wilpinjong coal mine. Now the mine owners want to expand the project to within 1.5 km of the village, spelling the end for Wollar.

Even the NSW Government admits that approving the Wilpinjong mine expansion would kill off Wollar forever. Sadly, it seems they don't care, with the NSW Planning Department recommending the mine be approved.

Please come to the rally on Tuesday 11 April and stand with the people of Wollar as they fight to save their community from coal mining.

Rally: 10am, Tuesday 11th April, outside Mudgee Town Hall (64 Market St)

Public meeting (PAC hearing): 10:30 am, inside the hall. The public meeting will be put on by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission. To register to speak, call (02) 9383 2115 before 1 pm Thursday 6th April. 

The PAC is the government authority that will soon make the final decision on whether the mine expansion goes ahead, and this is our last chance to influence them. This is Wollar's last stand!

Read more at Lock the Gate.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Myanmar bans new coal mines; Australia backs bigger subsidies

The following information comes from The Australia Institute.

Here is an update on the latest events in the push for a coal mine moratorium.
First, some good news: Myanmar is the latest to announce it will approve no new coal mines.

This is a big turnaround from previous government plans to expand coal production. The government is citing negative impacts on health as the reason for the ban. Existing mines will be allowed to operate only if they pass reviews into their health impacts.

Myanmar joins Indonesia and China in adopting a moratorium. Importantly, China’s coal use has now fallen for three years in a row, due to restrictions on burning coal, and even stronger restrictions on supply. This has both reduced emissions and pushed prices higher.
Commenting on the price spikes, Ivan Glasenberg, Chief Executive of Glencore -- a major coal mining company -- said:
I don't think any of us in this room saw it coming… Suddenly the Chinese decided they didn't like these low coal prices … we saw the effect that supply cutbacks can have on coal prices and what that did to the coal prices in China. 
While benefiting from China's supply restrictions, Glasenberg complained:
They're not like us with antitrust, we can't agree with other producers. But they can.
But that's wrong: ‘we’ could agree to stop building new coal mines: a global moratorium would mean higher prices, benefiting both existing mines and the climate.

The bad news: some wealthy countries are now going into reverse. The Trump administration pledges to repeal the US coal mine moratorium, among other environmental policies, and Australia’s government is proposing to spend new public money on new coal mines and new coal power plants, on top of existing subsidies:
While Prime Minister Turnbull cites Australia’s “vested interest” as the world’s biggest coal exporter, the Treasurer displayed government support by taking a lump of coal into Parliament to wave it around while laughingThe political signal is clear: Australia is contemptuous of world efforts to reduce emissions.

Understandably, Australia’s pacific neighbours are concerned. They are especially vulnerable to climate impacts and they have been the strongest advocates of a coal mine moratorium. The PM of Fiji has strongly criticised Australia’s “selfish” attitude over its coal mines.

With Fiji acting as President of the next UN climate talks, Australia and other coal-supporters may find their subsidies under international pressure. 

Dr Richard Denniss, Chief Economist
The Australia Institute