NSW pushes new coalmine

The Bylong community is mobilising against the proposed coal mine.

The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment recommended approval of a new thermal coalmine to the Independent Planning Commission on October 9.

The open-cut underground mine proposed by South Korean company KEPCO would be built near Bylong, 55 kilometres northeast of Mudgee and is intended to operate for 25 years, extracting 6.5 million tonnes of coal each year.

Lock the Gate spokesperson Carmel Flint said the recommendation to support the Bylong mine is wrong.

“Not only will this mine put the climate at risk, but new research shows it will take South Korean mining giant KEPCO one step closer to destroying a magnificent valley with state significant heritage values.

“Equally worrying is that there is no new information on Aboriginal cultural heritage impacts provided by the department, even though the Independent Planning Commission previously stated that further investigation was needed.  

“This mine will only proceed with the backing of the NSW Government, who at every step has allowed it to progress through the planning process despite the obvious and unacceptable risks it poses to farmland, water and heritage.”

Meanwhile, a former employee has said that KEPCO ordered him to pour sump oil down wombat holes at the site. The company denies it, but said it had permission to “cull” 10 wombats because of their skin infection. It is also alleged KEPCO had a permit to shoot wombats chewing through stock water pipes at Bylong Station.

The Independent Planning Commission will hold a public meeting in Mudgee on November 7, following which it will approve or reject the mine.

Lock the Gate is mobilising a major protest for the meeting.

[For more information and to register for the event visit Lock the Gate.]