The NSW Government’s approval of a new coal mine expansion is incompatible with its own emissions reduction goals and represents a broken election promise, says Lock the Gate Alliance.
The state’s Planning Department has just officially approved* “Boggabri modification 8”, which, if it receives federal approval, will allow owner Idemitsu to mine an extra 28 million tonnes of coal beyond its stated closure date of 2033 until 2036. It’s the first of at least 14 new coal projects up for determination in the state, which would collectively be responsible for more than two billion tonnes of carbon emissions.
The Boggabri expansion alone would be responsible for an additional 63 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (See page 3).
The project was not subject to Independent Planning Commission scrutiny because it was arbitrarily designated as a “modification” by the department - a fact Lock the Gate says represents a broken election promise by the Minns Government.
In the lead up to the last state election, NSW Labor said “new coal mine projects must be subject to an independent approval process” (See election platform).
The approval comes two months after the Minns Government's landmark climate Bill became law. In passing the Act, the Parliament recognised that “action is urgently required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” in NSW.
Libby Laird, who lives on a property adjacent to the mine said, “This government has just said we need urgent action to bring greenhouse gas emissions down, yet it seems like its priority is approving a new coal project.
“Allowing Idemitsu to mine new coal beyond 2033 is not urgent. What’s urgent is for us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
“We were expecting rehabilitation to begin in 2033. What we’re now going to get instead is a massive intrusion into the water source as Idemitsu mines deeper. But this doesn’t just affect us, it affects everyone.”
Ros Druce, who lives about 11kms from the mine, said, “I’m just totally disappointed with the Minns Government and the Planning Department, who have sought fit to approve the expansion of a coal mine in this day and age.
“We have just experienced an extreme heat event in this district, and worse is expected in the coming days.
“We need to be taking action against climate change, not throwing more fuel on the fire. There are at least 13 other coal projects due for determination. They must not be approved - this madness must stop.”
Last year, Idemitsu was penalised for stealing more than 500 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water during a drought.
*Due to an issue with the department’s planning portal website, confirmation of the approval is not yet available online.
The Planning Department published its intention to approve the Boggabri modification 8 project in December last year (See page viii).