Landholders living near Whitehaven’s Maules Creek coal mine have been alarmed to find what they say is evidence the company has contaminated the local river system.
Thousands of small white styrofoam balls, used in explosive blasts during mining, were found in the overflow of Back Creek following recent rain.
Back Creek is part of the Namoi River system, which itself eventually flows into the Murray Darling System.
Local landholder Ros Druce notified NSW’s Environmental Protection Agency following her discovery.
She said authorities must respond quickly, and penalise Whitehaven to the full extent of the law if it was found to be responsible.
“This styrofoam could have long lasting negative impacts on the local aquatic ecosystem,” she said.
“We also don’t know what else has been released into the river system.
“That’s why we’re urging an urgent investigation into whether Whitehaven has once again failed in its responsibilities to protect the community and environment that it operates in.
“This company is a repeat offender, and has no social licence left in this community.”