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

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Narrabri Gas Project: Please make a submission before 24 April!

This proposed project is huge and it will be disastrous if it goes ahead. Ninety-six per cent of the residents of the Pillaga area do not want the project to go ahead and the Department of Planning and Environment is now taking submissions on Santos' EIS for the project. Submissions close on 24 April and it's vital that as many people as possible put in a submission.

In the words of the Department of Planning and Environment:

The Narrabri Gas Project involves the progressive development of a coal seam gas field comprising up to 850 gas wells on up to 425 well pads over 20 years, and the construction and operation of gas processing and water treatment facilities, including: 
- a central gas processing facility for the compression, dehydration and treatment of gas; 
- a water management facility for the storage and treatment of produced water; 
- an in-field gas compression and water management facility; and 
- water and gas gathering pipelines and ancillary infrastructure. 

You can find more information on the project, as well as a submission guide, on the Wilderness Society website

You will find the submission form on the Department of Planning and Environment website.  

Saturday, 26 November 2016

AGM 28 November, 6.30 pm

Just a reminder to members that our AGM is to be held at 6.30 pm on Monday 28 November at Running Stream hall.

Please come along and support your association!

Afterwards there will be a light supper, which will give us an opportunity to talk and catch up.

Please note that membership renewals are due.

We look forward to seeing you there.

AGM Agenda

ITEM 1: Confirmation of Minutes of the 2015 AGM

ITEM 2: President’s Report
ITEM 3: Treasurer’s Report and Acceptance of Annual Statement
ITEM 4: Election of Office Bearers
ITEM 5: Membership Fees

Inglenook CCC report notes 20 September 2016

20 Sept 2016 Inglenook CCC -  Report to Meeting by Centennial

Reporting period: March 2016 – September 2016

Project Update: Exploration Drilling
• Budget submission for 7 exploration boreholes to be drilled in 2017 has been submitted to Senior Management for approval.
• Focus of the drilling program is to define the western extent of the coal resource across Exploration Licences EL7431 and EL7432.
• The drilling program has not yet been approved and the CCC will be advised if the drilling program is to recommence in 2017.

EL A414 Renewal
• A414 expired in June 2016. Centennial submitted a renewal application in June 2016 for a further term of six years.
• The Department’s Exploration Titles Committee (ETC) oversees the renewal process. This committee is chaired by the Manager, Royalties and Adviser Services and comprises representatives from the Geological Survey, the Environmental Sustainability Unit and the Titles Unit.
• Until an expired exploration title is renewed the conditions of the expired exploration licence remain in effect. Renewal is expected by December 2016

Environmental Management
• Baseline surface water quality sampling scheduled for 28 September 2016
• Baseline groundwater quality and level sampling scheduled for 28 September 2016.
• Baseline vibrating wire piezometer data has been collected remotely on a daily basis and will continue.
• Baseline weather data collection has also continued throughout the reporting period and will continue.

• A414 Annual Exploration and Community Consultation report submitted to NSW Department of Industry in June. Non-Compliance
• There has been no incidents of non-compliance during the reporting period.

Community Engagement
• Project newsletter to be distributed in October 2016.
• Access Agreement negotiations for future exploration will resume once the 2017 work program has been approved by Centennial management.

Activities for the coming reporting period

• Planning for future exploration drilling.
• Statutory Exploration Licence reporting for EL7431, EL7432 and EL7442 in December 2016.
• Surface water and groundwater monitoring to be undertaken in September.
• Monitoring will only be undertaken at existing monitoring sites
Company Update
• Improved efficiency and cost management across each of the five operational mine sites has enabled Centennial Coal to remain competitive through the current industry downturn.
• NSW Department of Planning and Environment released Draft CCC Guidelines for comment. Centennial participated with the NSW Minerals Council Working Group to develop a submission in relation to the Guidelines. Awaiting the release of the Guidelines.

• NSW Department of Planning and Environment has commenced consultation in relation to the Social Impact Assessment process. The outcome of the consultation will be used to inform the draft SIA Guidelines which are expected to be released November 2016 for comment.

(Notes compiled by Jolieske Lips, Community and RSWUA Representative.)

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Werris Creek coal mine cracks aquifer

On Monday, NSW Greens MP, Jeremy Buckingham, posted a YouTube video showing water spraying out from an aquifer cracked by mining activities at the Werris Creek mine near Tamworth, NSW.

He said: 
Yesterday, I was astonished to see the Werris Creek coal mine madly spraying water into the air to try to evaporate it after the coal mine intersected an aquifer.
The coal pit is filling with water from the aquifer, while nearby farmers are seeing their bores run dry and soil lose moisture as it all flows into the mine. This is exactly what farmers on the Liverpool Plains and elsewhere are concerned about. Once you break an underground water source, it is impossible to fix. Coal mining is no longer necessary and certainly not worth the risk in prime agricultural areas.

Sunday, 5 July 2015


EPA not ruling out legal action over Lithgow coal mine pollution

Centennial Coal could face legal action after admitting the collapse of a wall at its Clarence Colliery in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, resulted in the contamination of the Wollangambe River.

Lithgow pollution downstream

Read the full story here
and more here

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Pope Francis calls for action on climate change

Last week, in the first papal document, or encyclical, dedicated to the environment, Pope Francis demanded swift action to halt impending environmental ruin, and urged world leaders to hear 'the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor' and halt the 'unprecedented destruction of ecosystems'.

said the time had come for parts of the world to accept decreased growth. He advocated a change of lifestyle in rich countries steeped in a 'throwaway' consumer culture and an end to an 'obstructionist attitudes' that put profit before the common good.

He took on big business, appearing to back 'what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting certain products' in order to force companies to respect the environment.

Noting also the 'remarkable' weakness of political responses to climate change, Pope Francis accused sceptics of cynically ignoring or manipulating the scientific evidence:

There are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so that their own plans will not be affected.
We know how unsustainable is the behaviour of those who constantly consume and destroy, while others are not yet able to live in a way worthy of their human dignity.
On the subject of fossil fuels, he wrote:
There is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced – for example, substituting for fossil fuels and developing sources of renewable energy. Worldwide there is minimal access to clean and renewable energy. There is still a need to develop adequate storage technologies.
We know that technology based on the use of highly-polluting fossil fuels – especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas – needs to be progressively replaced without delay. Until greater progress is made in developing widely accessible sources of renewable energy, it is legitimate to choose the lesser of two evils or to find short-term solutions. But the international community has still not reached adequate agreements about the responsibility for paying the costs of this energy transition.
On the subject of water, he wrote:
Underground water sources in many places are threatened by the pollution produced in certain mining, farming and industrial activities, especially in countries lacking adequate regulation or controls...
Even as the quality of available water is constantly diminishing, in some places there is a growing tendency, despite its scarcity, to privatize this resource, turning it into a commodity subject to the laws of the market. Yet access to safe drinkable water is a basic and universal human right, since it is essential to human survival and, as such, is a condition for the exercise of other human rights.

Greater scarcity of water will lead to an increase in the cost of food and the various products which depend on its use. Some studies warn that an acute water shortage may occur within a few decades unless urgent action is taken. The environmental repercussions could affect billions of people; it is also conceivable that the control of water by large multinational businesses may become a major source of conflict in this century.