Wambo coal mine PAC: too many unanswered questions about water impacts

There are too many unanswered questions about the risks to water resources from expanding the Wambo underground coal mine, Hunter residents and community groups will tell a public meeting in Singleton tomorrow.

The NSW Planning Assessment Commission is holding a public meeting  on December 7, 2017 in Singleton to assess the application by Peabody Energy to extend the life of Wambo underground by seven years, through the addition of 9 longwall panels extending the length of the mine by over 2km.


However, community groups will question why the project has been referred to the PAC for a final decision, when there are so many unanswered questions about the risks of the project to groundwater and creeks.

“Several government agencies including the EPA, the Department of Primary Industries, and the Independent Expert Scientific Committee have raised concerns about the risks of this project to water resources, and told the Planning Department that more scientific assessment needs to be done before a decision can be made,” said Steve Phillips, Hunter regional coordinator for the Lock The Gate Alliance.

“But the Planning Department has ignored all that and written a draft approval for the project, and forwarded it onto the PAC for sign-off.

“In my address to the PAC, I will call on them to send this project back to the Planning Department and insist that a proper environmental assessment is done before a decision is made,” said Phillips.

Local farmers Ron and Janet Fenwick will be among the other speakers against the project at tomorrow’s public meeting.

“This mining company cannot be trusted,” said Mrs Fenwick.

“Their underground mine has already had severe impacts on waterways and farmland, and no further damage ought to be permitted,” she said.

“They have treated Ron and myself with absolute contempt, to the point where we have been forced to take them to court to achieve the most basic of outcomes, such as accessing our own property.

“The Supreme Court rebuked Peabody for the way they have run the Wambo mine, but the Planning Department is happy to place more trust in this company than in other government agencies,” said Mrs Fenwick. “It’s disgraceful.”

Community groups will also raise concerns that there has been no attempt to study the cumulative impacts of this project with other major mining projects in the area, including the proposed United Wambo open cut “super pit” project, a joint venture between Glencore and Peabody


PAC Presentations from BMPA

Wambo’s Bad Track Record presented byAnneMaree McLaughlin

WAMBO Cumulative Impacts presented by Robert McLaughlin representing BMPA

Coal Mining in Anthropocene  presented by Jorge Tlaskal

Wambo Mod 17 is just a game presented by Robert McLaughlin





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