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New open-cut mine upwind of Muswellbrook will worsen air quality: critics say health and environmental impacts have been ignored

Critics of a proposal to extend the life of the new Mount Pleasant open-cut coal mine Mount Pleasant on the outskirts of Muswellbrook say concerns about the cumulative health and environmental impact of the mine with other large open cuts in the area have been ignored by the Department of Planning and they are calling on the Independent Planning Commission to demonstrate its independence by refusing to approve the extension.

The Independent Planning Commission is today holding a public meeting in Muswellbrook to hear views about a proposal to extend the life of the project beyond 2020. The mine was approved in 1999 but has only recently begun construction. It’s approval to mine cuts out in 2020, so a modification is needed for it to proceed.

Around 20 people will address the meeting, including Steve Phillips of Lock the Gate Alliance and Wendy Wales of Denman Aberdeen Muswellbrook Scone Healthy Environment Group.

Ms Wales said, “A large new open cut mine is anything but ‘pleasant.’ Air quality is terrible in and around Muswellbrook and this mine upwind of the prevailing nor-west winds is going to make it a lot worse.

“Mount Pleasant is a significant change for us. We have not have any mines north-west of town until now and that is why we haven’t had the extremes and dust alerts that Camberwell and north west Singleton have had.

“It doesn’t feel as if the NSW Government cares at all about air pollution and its effect on us, so we are appealing to the Planning Commission to demonstrate its independence and refuse to approve this modification.”

Steve Phillips said, “When this mine was approved 20 years ago, there was far less mining activity in close proximity to town. Now it is being surrounded by open cut mines. Every time the wind blows, this mine will blanket Muswellbrook in dust.

“If this mine proceeds, and the expansion of Bengalla, then the area immediately to the west and south of Muswellbrook is going to be a long string of open cut pits.”

Details of the Independent Planning Commission meeting are available here.



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