The latest new open cut coal mine proposed in New South Wales is Whitehaven’s Vickery Extension Project. A decision is expected in the next 12 weeks, so please help local farmers stop this mine.
Scroll down to read our dot point guide outlining some of the key issues with this mine....
What you need to know:
- It’s called an “extension” but is in fact a new mine in the productive farming district of Boggabri, with a new rail connection that will cross the Namoi River and its floodplain.
- The mine site includes the historic “Kurrumbede” property, said to be the inspiration to Dorothea MacKeller’s poem “My Country”. Vibration from mine blasting will harm the homestead.
- Narrabri Council has formally objected to the project, due to its social impacts on the Boggabri district, already reeling from the depopulation of farms by Whitehaven’s nearby Maules Creek coal mine.
- It would mine 168 million tonnes of coal, at a rate of up to 10 million tonnes per year. One third of it will be thermal coal and will be burned for electricity overseas. Altogether, if it goes ahead, this mine will add 370 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.
- The most troubling aspect of the mine is its lack of water. Even the Department of Planning admits it might run out of water in dry times. To feed its thirst for water, Whitehaven’s nearby Maules Creek coal mine has already taken water illegally, outbid local farmers for water at auction and built pipelines from nearby farms to divert farming water for mining.
- Building another water hungry coal mine in the parched Namoi is a terrible idea.
- Furthermore, Whitehaven proposes to pile mine spoil on top of 202 hectares of the Namoi alluvial aquifer, a plan the Department of Planning Industry and Environment’s own Water Division has stated it does not support because the presence of acid forming materials in the spoil will mean heavy metals could leach into the aquifer below.
A decision about whether Vickery will proceed will be made by the Independent Planning Commission (IPC).
A 12 week timeframe imposed by Minister Stokes for the IPC’s decision process means the project should be decided by 12 August. This is a critical window to have your say before then.