Whitehaven Coal has been exposed for failing to assess its planned Vickery coal project’s impact on global climate, local communities and the environment.
Lock the Gate Alliance has welcomed the Independent Planning Commission’s Issues Report for the proposed new Vickery coal mine near the Namoi River at Boggabri, saying mining company Whitehaven Coal and the NSW Government are now on notice.
“Clearly, the Commission will not accept corners being cut in the assessment of the mine’s impact on the environment, local community and the global climate,” said Lock the Gate spokesperson Georgina Woods.
The Commission’s report highlights a long list of issues that need addressing by Whitehaven or the Department, from the local and immediate effects of noise and air pollution to global and intergenerational considerations of climate change and groundwater impacts expected to last for centuries.
Local farmer Sally Hunter, who addressed the Commission’s preliminary public hearing in Boggabri in February, said, “We’re heartened to see the serious issues raised by the community reflected in the Commission’s report, particularly the risk to water resources, the displacement of farming and our towns, and the question of inter-generational equity.
“The proof of how seriously the Independent Planning Commission takes its consideration of these issues will come down the track, when it is called upon to make a decision whether to allow this damaging mine to proceed and turn the Namoi valley into a mining Mecca of overburden piles and open pits.
Ms Woods said, “For too long, the assessment and approval of coal mines in NSW has glossed over the lasting damage large-scale coal mining does to communities and the environment.
“The damage of the Vickery coal mine will last for generations, impacting the viability of agriculture, drawing down groundwater and capturing surface water and contributing further to catastrophic climate change. The NSW Government and Whitehaven are now on notice that these considerations must be given their due weight at long last.”
The report will now be handed over to the Department of Planning for consideration.
The Commission’s Issues Report for the Vickery Extension Project is available here: https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/resources/pac/media/files/pac/projects/2018/11/vickery-extension-project/issues-report/20190430-vickery-extension-project--issues-report.pdf