Mining madness

Our governments appear to be blind, mad or bad when it comes to coal. This is just one instance.

Firstly there is the madness of having approved, in 2007, a mega coal mine that in Stage One will produce 127 million tonnes of coal over 15 yrs for the world to burn to make more CO2 — just what we need; now they are contemplating approving Stage Two, to produce 17 million tonnes of new coal per year for 24 years — even better if we don’t want the global warming to slow down.

This Moolarben mega-mine, owned by  Felix Resources, will comprise three opencut mines and a longwall underground mine.

The second evidence of madness ( or whatever) is where the mine is to be located:  in close proximity to the Goulburn River & The Drip Gorge area that abuts the Goulburn River National Park.

The three opencut mines will trash the picturesque Moolarben valley, rich in bird life and biodiversity, will displace many farming families in this area and come within 2 kilometres of the village of Ulan and local primary school. I’m sure they will welcome the health benefits from all the heavy metal laden fine dust particulates and the 24-hour noise, lights and stress.
drip-1The Drip’  in Goulburn River National Park under threat from mining; get the scale of its grandeur from the two figures at its base.

The proposed longwall mine, within 120 metres of the Goulburn River, will threaten the fragile sandstone cliffs and gorges along the Goulburn River, important Aboriginal cultural sites, including cave paintings, and the groundwater system, lifeblood of this land.

Subsidence and horizontal movements from the effects of longwall mining have the potential to crack cliffs more than a kilometre away and intercept and pollute groundwater that feeds the river.

Stage One hasn’t started yet but they are up to their seventh modification application; it seems they agree to anything to get the original approval and then get it altered to suit them — not the environment.

I wonder why they feel confident of getting approval for such blatant manipulation of the conditions of assent by which they must abide — theoretically at least, since mines breach their conditions continually.

Take a look at the Save the Drip website which will now be a permanent link from my site. I had thought it already was, as it deserved to be, so my apologies to the people desperately trying to save The Drip — and all the other environmental treasures over there.
drip-2Apart from the important Aboriginal cave paintings, there is also a confirmed Brett Whiteley rock mural within the mining lease area.

11 thoughts on “Mining madness”

  1. Hi Jim, I noted with sadness that construction has started at Moolarben as I drove past last week – and I saw their most recent modification approval– to which there seems no end. I do share your concerns – as I imagine do the people up on the Liverpool Plains who have Shenhua and the Watermark lease to worry about.

    (James, also tried to email you re further info but address bounced?)

  2. Hi Sharyn, I remain increasingly concerned about the Chinese controlled Yanzhou Coal’s (through subsidiary Austar Coal Mine) bid for Felix Resources (80% owners of Moolarben).
    Yanzhou, through parent Yankuang Group, have introduced their new technology longwall mining to their Austar Coal Mine. The normal longwall mining allows for up to 4.5 metre thick coal seams in one pass, the new form, Longwall Top Caving LTCC, allows up to 12 metre thick passes. There are reports of soil and rock collapses of 6 metres.
    The new technology allows for an 80% increase in production and could raise production from Moolarben’s underground mine to 18 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) or more. The open-cut mine is set for an additional 4mtpa. early on and increases later.
    Chinese companies are known for a rip-the-coal-out as fast as possible business attitude.
    It looks increasingly certain that the underground mine will go ahead as NSW needs the money after coal prices crashed and plans for royalty revenues with it.
    Ulan, Moolarben and Wilpinjong mines gained a water sharing agreement approval last week.
    There are a number of us doing what we can to derail the Financial Investment Review Board’s (FIRB) approval of Yanzhou’s 100% off market bid. A few, some though with their own agendas and from surprising quarters), are trying to derail the bid.

  3. Jim, Australian hands aren’t that common in mining anymore and whoever holds the reins seems to be equally bloodyminded about our precious inheritance in the face of their precious profits.
    It ought to be up to the regulators to insist that they all do the right thing by the environment and the people – but the way they are, dripfed by coal, it is God help us all!

  4. If the takeover bid for Felix Resources by Chinese Government controlled Yanzhou Coal Company goes ahead, then 80% of Moolarben will be China owned and controlled, and the rest shared equally between Sojitz of Japan and the South Korean consortium led by KORES a Korean government controlled company.
    If this bid is approved by the Australian regulators this month, then the Moolarben Mine will be in Chinese hands.
    God help “The Drip” and the Goulburn River National Park.

  5. An excellent analysis, Trevor, and in general, sadly, I have to agree, but there are a few pollies – Green or Independent – who keep their ethics after election; unfortunately they don’t have power, but more of them would make a difference. Would your OZ Informal Party preference them?

  6. Hey Sharyn, Members of Parliament become very encouraged when people vote for them I’ve noticed, and this results in a state of hubris on their part under the influence of which they come to believe that their venal attitudes are automatically endorsed by democratic process. Of course this is a post-election delusionary condition which preceeds 3 or 4 years of criminal incompetance during which time they compound their guilt and hob-nob with other beast worshipers to such an extent that they forget that there are other points of view. I have recently formed the Australian Informal Party. This excellent organisation has no members and to endorse it at the next election one counts the number of candidates of all contesting parties seeking one’s support and writes that total in each box, thus putting every bastard last! Regards, Trev.

  7. As do the persistence of the many groups and individuals like yourself Denis, who remain intent on telling the populace that ‘the emperor has no clothes’. As happened with climate change, I keep the hope that eventually the massed voices of commonsense re mining’s permanent damage to rivers and land will be heard over the dollar-coated voice of King Coal.

  8. Hi Sharyn
    Lovely post on “The Drip”.
    The madness of coal mining has to be seen to be believed.
    People in the big cities seem to just have no idea.
    Post like yours certainly help.

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