The close-knit community of Wollar in the upper Hunter Valley has already endured a decade of suffering from the nearby Wilpinjong coal mine. Now the mine owners want to expand the project to within 1.5km of the village, spelling the end for Wollar.
Please help! Make a submission.
The NSW Government is taking public comments on the proposed mine expansion until Thursday 10th March. It only takes a few minutes to lodge your objection to this project, here's how.
To make a submission:
- Go to this page on the NSW Planning website.
- Scroll down to the "Making a Submission" section, and fill in the form.
- Use our guide below to draft your submission (it'll be more powerful if you put it in your own words).
- Be sure to select "I object to it" for "Your view on the application"
- That's it! Thanks.
You can also support the Wollar community by making a contribution to their fundraising campaign, check it out here.
Wilpinjong Coal Mine in the south western edge of the Hunter catchment is owned and operated by Peabody Energy US. It has been operating since 2006 and has had severe impacts on the local community of Wollar and surrounds. The 28 square km open cut coal mine lies between Goulburn River National Park and Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve.
The mine has current approval to produce 12.5 million tonnes per annum of saleable coal until 2027. This extension proposes to destroy a further 800 ha of land and extend the mine’s life until 2033.
The original justification for the mine was to supply low quality coal to Bayswater Power Station. Six subsequent modifications have resulted in increased export capacity while increasing the cumulative impacts on the environment and community.
This extension will bring the mine to within 1.5km of the village of Wollar. The company's own Social Impact Assessment identifies that this will accelerate the decline of the community, which was doing great until the mine moved in ten years ago.
Extending the Wilpinjong mine would be the nail in the coffin for Wollar.
Key Points of Objection:
- The extension of Wilpinjong Mine will destroy the community of Wollar. The cumulative social impact of loss of population through mining projects from Ulan to Bylong has not been considered.
- The noise assessment, monitoring and mitigation measures are highly inadequate.
- Air quality has not been assessed against the new standards adopted in December 2015
- The cumulative impact on biodiversity, Aboriginal cultural heritage, water sources, greenhouse gas emissions, community and rural industry has not been rigorously assessed.
- The ongoing coal extraction will produce an additional 20 million tonnes of greenhouse gas per year, which will exacerbate the impacts of climate change, and is at odds with Australia's commitments under the Paris Accord.
- The area has significant landscape Aboriginal cultural heritage values that have not been assessed in a regional context.
- The extension will remove 354 ha of remnant native vegetation impacting 24 threatened species and communities – more than the current approval. The biodiversity offsets will not provide sufficient habitat for the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater.
- The extension removes existing buffer zones for the Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve.
- The extension will leave 3 final voids in the landscape that will impact the local environment and waterways for hundreds of years into the future. This is a completely unacceptable legacy.
- The ongoing impacts on groundwater and surface water systems will be greater than predicted.
- The predicted job numbers are overstated compared with the current workforce extracting the same volume of coal.
- Peabody Energy is in deep financial distress and may not be fit to meet all obligations.
- The contract to supply AGL’s Bayswater Power Station can be met by the current approval.
- The proposal to continue extracting low quality coal while causing irreversible environmental and social damage cannot be justified.