Lock the Gate Alliance welcomes reports today from Korean news agencies suggesting KEPCO, which wanted to build a coal mine in the Bylong Valley, appears unlikely to make any appeal against the Independent Planning Commission’s decision yesterday to refuse the project.
The Korean Government owned company was quoted in major newspaper Hankyung saying, “although it is possible to challenge the IPC’s decision, it would be very difficult to change the outcome,” and that “KEPCO has not decided whether it would file an administrative action, resubmit the application, or entirely abandon the project,” in response to the decision.
It was also reported the company made an operating loss in the first has of 2019 approximated USD 775M.
Lock the Gate Alliance NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods said KEPCO’s avenues for appeal were extremely limited, in part due to the NSW Government’s attempts to stifle opportunities for local communities to challenge resource approvals in court.
“A narrow judicial review is the only kind of appeal available to KEPCO because the NSW Government routinely strips merits appeal rights for major resource projects to stop what the mining industry calls ‘lawfare,’ but which is actually a crucial balance we have long argued should be retained,” she said.
“In a judicial review, the Court can set aside a consent, but it would be referred back to the IPC to be decided again.”
Ms Woods said it was then likely the same decision would be made and it appeared KEPCO has reached the same conclusion.
“The Commission made a decision that protects strategic agricultural land and water resources from destruction and depletion for coal mining,” she said.
“It ruled that the proposal would have unacceptable impacts on groundwater, strategic agricultural land, and the heritage values of the Bylong Valley, as well as the mine’s impact on climate change and intergenerational equity.
“It’s hard to see how KEPCO, or any company for that matter, could build a coal mine in this incredible part of the world without creating these impacts so we would advise them to abandon the idea.”