Bylong Valley Protection Alliance

The Bylong Valley Protection Alliance has formally been accepted as part of the court case battling to save a valley near Mudgee, New South Wales, from being destroyed by a huge open-cut coal mine, reports Jim McIlroy.

The Bylong community is stepping up its fight to save their valley from coal mining after the Independent Planning Commission bailed from defending its own negative assessment, writes Jim McIlroy.

South Korean company KEPCO is proposing to open up a mine that would have drastic impacts on local agriculture and water and the iconic natural and cultural heritage of the region, including Aboriginal sacred sites.

Information provided by the NSW Water Office indicates that if the Bylong coalmine in the Upper Hunter region proceeds, there is a real danger of the Bylong River and local creeks drying up.

The Bylong coalmine, a project of South Korean government-owned company Kepco which supplies coal to the electricity industry, involves open cut and underground extraction of up to 6.5 million tonnes of coal for a period of 25 years. The Planning and Assessment Commission’s hearing of Kepco’s application was completed in May last year and its review report was completed in July.

The Resources Regulator Lee Shearer revealed in a Budget Estimates hearing on September 1 that it is investigating whether Korean mining company KEPCO is fit and proper to hold a mining licence in New South Wales, after serious international fraud and corruption allegations against the company were made.

KEPCO is proposing to develop two open-cut coalmines in the beautiful Bylong Valley, about 55 km north-east of Mudgee in north-western NSW. The mine is expected to produce up to 6.5 million tonnes of coal a year for 25 years, commencing early next year.

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