The New South Wales Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has rejected plans for a new coal mine in the Southern Highlands, finding them to pose too great a risk to groundwater.
the main points:
- The IPC found that the effects could not be avoided or minimized and rejected the suggestion of Hume Coal
- Residents who fought mine for 11 years say they couldn’t be happier with this decision
- Hume Coal Project Manager says he is frustrated and will seek guidance from head office
South Korean-owned Hume Coal wanted to build a mine in Perima that would have extracted 50 million tons of coal over 23 years.
It promised 300 jobs.
In June, the NSW Planning Department noted concerns about groundwater and rejected the proposal.
The IPC on Tuesday issued a strong rejection after finding the effects could not be avoided, mitigated or managed reasonably and satisfactorily by the circumstances.
She said the project poses an unacceptable risk to groundwater based on modeling with limited parameters and input data.
I also found that the ‘fix’ provisions for the project were impractical due to the number of particular cavities that would be affected.
She said the mine would also pose an unacceptable risk to Sydney’s drinking watershed.
IPC said the project will have negative social impacts on the residents’ lifestyle.
Michael Verkberkett of Battle for Berrima said the operation took a heavy toll on the community.
“We are very happy — we are very happy that this has finally paid off after such a long time,” he said.
“It shouldn’t have been a mining lease in this area at all.
Moss Valley Rural and Chamber of Commerce president Brigid Kennedy, who is also a restaurateur and farmer, said the decision would give businesses hope.
“I think I’ve held my breath for 10 years and feel like I can finally get it out,” she said.
“I am very excited – the community will be making wheels on Perima Main Street.
“We hope this helps companies that are struggling despite the coronavirus continuing to thrive.”
Peter Martin of the coal-free Southern Highlands said the decision was long overdue.
“It has been 11 years and 11 days since we had our first meeting [about the project] In Sutton Forest Hall”.
“With climate change over our heads now, none of these projects should ever be considered, and we are grateful for this project that came to the fore.
“From here the Southern Highlands will go from strength to strength.”
Hume Coal’s project manager, Rod Doyle, said he was disappointed with the decision and would be receiving guidance from the company’s head office.