Whitehaven’s flagrant disregard for environmental laws at its Narrabri underground coal mine is further evidence the company has little respect for the community it operates in, according to Lock the Gate Alliance.
The company was recently penalised by NSW’s Environment Protection Agency for two incidents, one of which caused several fires to break out at the Narrabri tip.
According to the EPA, Whitehaven disposed more than 100 canisters used in breathing apparatus of workers at the nearby tip, and the canisters subsequently ignited.
The company was issued with a clean up noticed and were required to dispose of the canisters properly.
The miner was also fined $15,000 after large plumes of black coal dust were observed at its Narrabri Mine.
Neighbour of the underground mine and Narrabri farmer Stuart Murray said the local community had been left in the dark over the incidents.
“Whitehaven appears to have made no effort to contact neighbours or tell locals about these two troubling events,” he said.
“How can we have any faith in this company when we only find out about these serious environmental violations weeks or even months after they have occurred?”
Lock the Gate Alliance spokesperson Georgina Woods said the miner’s actions showed it cared little about the environment and the surrounding community.
"These two separate pollution incidents demonstrate a disdain for the effects of the mine on the public and the environment,” she said.
"The EPA has fined Whitehaven for not operating its mine in a competent manner. That seems to us a pretty serious breach of the public trust.
"It's actually the second time this year that Whitehaven has been chipped by the EPA for carrying out mining in a less than competent manner - they also admitted doing so at the company's Rocglen mine in the Land and Environment Court three months ago."