Every August, NSW mining companies get together at the lavish Crowne Plaza resort in the Hunter Valley vineyards to pat each other on the back and give themselves a few awards for all the great work they do improving our Health, Society, Environment, and Communities.
Among those short-listed for honours at this year's NSW Minerals Council HSEC Awards are Peabody Energy, for their remarkable achievement of completing legally-required tree-plantings to rehabilitate a section of their Wilpinjong open cut coal mine near Mudgee.
The Wilpinjong mine opened ten years ago, a few kilometres from the community of Wollar. Since then, 90% of the population of Wollar has been forced out of the area due to the noise and dust pollution from the mine. A few months ago, the NSW Government gave Peabody approval to expand the Wilpinjong pits to within 1500m of Wollar, which will spell extinction for the once thriving community.
Peabody have bulldozed hundreds of hectares of threatened bushland ecosystems to build the mine, and they have approval to leave two enormous pits in the ground when the company leaves.
Wilpinjong is a horror story, a showcase of everything that's wrong with coal mine approvals in NSW. And now, its owners are giving themselves an award for it.
The Minerals Council's self-congratulatory awards ceremony is a slap in the face to Hunter people suffering air, noise, and water pollution, displaced industries and communities, the social and economic costs that come with being dominated by a ruthless boom-bust industry run by greedy companies with no interest in our region's welfare.
If you agree that Big Coal's phony awards stunt is a sick joke, come and let them know. Join our demonstration on 14th August, 10am, at the Crowne Plaza Resort, 430 Wine Country Dr, Lovedale.