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State Significant Development

Assessment

Moolarben OC3 Extension Project

Mid-Western Regional

Current Status: Assessment

Interact with the stages for their names

  1. SEARs
  2. Prepare EIS
  3. Exhibition
  4. Collate Submissions
  5. Response to Submissions
  6. Assessment
  7. Recommendation
  8. Determination

Extension of open cut mining at OC3 to the south

EPBC

This project is a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and will be assessed under the bilateral agreement between the NSW and Commonwealth Governments, or an accredited assessment process. For more information, refer to the Australian Government's website.

Attachments & Resources

Notice of Exhibition (1)

Request for SEARs (1)

SEARs (2)

EIS (45)

Response to Submissions (2)

IESC (1)

Agency Advice (28)

Amendments (13)

Submissions

Filters
Showing 1 - 20 of 76 submissions
Name Withheld
Object
COOKS GAP , New South Wales
Message
Attachments
Rosemary Hadaway
Object
Mudgee , New South Wales
Message
Attachments
Anne Reeves
Object
Glebe , New South Wales
Message
I object to the project

I write as an individual deeply concerned over many years by the adverse impact of coal mining on the future welfare of people and the natural systems of our planet which sustain us.

Locally,
the impacts of the Yanco/Moolarben mining operation have already impinged directly on the landscape, including adjacent and nearby land of high cultural significance reserved also to protect wildlife under the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Act. Further expansion, including pushing the operation right up towards the boumdary of Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve with minimum buffering will further compound the damage, with potentially dire consequences for the ongoing viability of some of the at risk bat and other species.

Sadly the already extensive mine operation has already affected the nature of the valley including through clearing, distortion of natural water flow patterns, disruptive sound and light pollution. The operation also adversely affects the local community; at one of my visits to the area the road was closed due to collapse near the pit edge compounding the many disruptions that affect local residents and visitors from the mine operations.

Globally,
burning coal, from where-ever sourced, is widely acknowledged as a contributor to climate change – a point long highlighted by Australia’s Pacific nation neighbours as evidenced in calls to cease coal mining made at the IUCN conference by leaders from Kiribati and other countries at the 2014 World Parks Congress held in Sydney. More recently this adverse impact has been specifically addressed in a number of legal cases. The coal mining industry has had more than enough time to adjust to the need to wind down and move out of the coal mining. Offsetting of carbon emissions is not the answer, and indeed is increasingly being shown as a furphy, not even truly delivering ‘no net loss’ but rather serving as a failed diversionary exercise of pretence.
The just released 2022 State of the Climate Report by the Bureau of Meteorology in conjunction with CSIRO reinforces the dire risks of failing to wind back greenhouse gas emissions. Inter alia, it is noted in the report that many of the climate changes are being driven by rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere caused mostly by the burning of fossil fuels with consequent implications for matters protected under the EPBC Act.

As a conservationist of long standing, with a background in science, as an elected local government member, and an advocate for nature conservation, I consider it would be wrong to approve this project..
Name Withheld
Object
MOGO , New South Wales
Message
No to this expansion that Moolarben wants.
Already the bushfires & floods are extreme. Just talk to the people who have lost their homes and lively hoods.
The roads in the Mid- Western local area are not handling the rain, they are full of potholes and therefore dangerous to drivers. The council cannot keep them in repair. This years rain has caused a fire hazard with all the growth we could see more ģrass fires and bush fires.Wollar has no Fire Brigade thanks Wilpinjong coal mine.
Also the rain has caused access issues all over MWSC. On my road a concrete causeway across the Wollar Creek was destroyed by a flood in November. A temporary one is in place. Access issues caused by the rain and 3 mines discharging water into the Goulburn River has caused a major problem for many people who have to cross this river
So all the evidence and figures say Climate change is now with us and that we must stop burning fossil fuels.
So why is this mine wanting to expand when it should be slowing down its coal production.
If you allow it to go ahead then the company should be paying a carbon tax.
Max Smiles-Schmidt
Object
Wollar , New South Wales
Message
My key points for objection:

1. Climate Change impacts:
The proposal is to produce an additional 40 million tonnes of coal and increase greenhouse gas emissions by 86.59 Mt CO2-e
2. First Nations heritage impacts:
A total of 130 first nations cultural heritage sites were identified within or overlapping the subject area including shelters with artefacts (one with possible burial), and axe grinding groove site
3. Water impacts:
· The permanent loss of potable, good quality (low salinity) groundwater from springs that provide fresh flows to creeks and the Goulburn River
· A predicted loss of baseflows to the Goulburn River between 180 – 225 million litres /year and 600 million litres in wet years. This will impact on river health and downstream water users, including Goulburn River National Park.
· A 200m buffer zone to Moolarben and Murdering Creeks (aimed at protecting them from mining) includes mine haul roads and other infrastructure impacting crucial riparian vegetation.
4. Biodiversity impacts:
· The extended mining operations will come within 100m of the Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve threatening important conservation values especially native bird and Koala habitat.
· Noise, dust and lights from the 24 hour operations will disrupt the many identified threatened and endangered birds, mammals and bat species that live in and around the valley.
· The project would result in the clearing of 624.18 ha native vegetation including
477.75 ha of Box-Gum Woodland Critically Endangered Ecological Communities. This is irreplaceable and cannot be adequately offset.
· Ecosystem habitat loss for 22 threatened fauna species including: Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia), Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), Squirrel Glider (Petaurus norfolcensis), Large-eared Pied Bat (Chalinolobus dwyeri)
5. Agricultural impacts:
Loss of food production potential on large areas of prime agricultural land that previously supported many farming families. This land should be assessed as Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land (BSAL) and assessed through the Gateway process.

It is almost beyond comprehension that even with all of the evidence of the extreme detrimental impacts that coal mining has on the environment that more expansions are still being considered. Even when such a decision has direct impacts on those who are making the approvals and indeed their families. It is time for decision makers to show some real leadership and do the right thing. Coal mining is not ethical, it is not ecologically or environmentally sustainable and it is not ecologically viable. This expansion should not be approved.
Water for Rivers
Object
CHIPPENDALE , New South Wales
Message
Objection to the Moolarben Coalmine Extension to Open Cut 3
1. Water impacts of the new Moolarben Coalmine OC3
a) Moolarben Coal Mine extension of Open Cut 3 is a new huge mining proposal, adjacent to Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve. Moolarben Coal mine is already a very large operation near Mudgee on the headwaters of the Goulburn River, a major tributary to the Hunter River catchment area. The proposed expansion on exhibition intrudes further into the upper Moolarben valley, an area rich in biodiversity, ringed by natural springs and bounded on three sides by the outstanding Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve that straddles the Great Dividing Range.
b) The present Moolarben Coal Mine has current approval to produce 22 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum until 2038 from four open cut mines and three underground mines. The mining complex already covers over 80 sq.kms of sensitive environments with significant cultural heritage values. At this rate, It is difficult to see whether any area of natural forests and woodlands will be standing after another 16 years of coal mining. We don’t need more coalmines. The recent sequel of fires and floods prove that.
c) Moolarben is owned by Yancoal with significant input from Korean Coal companies. Yancoal Australia states that it has an 80% interest in the Moolarben project as a result of its purchase of Felix Resources Ltd. Moolarben is an unincorporated Joint-Venture with Sojitz Corporation of Japan (10%), a consortium consisting of Korea Resource Corporation (KORES), Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO) and four of its generator subsidiaries, Kosep, Komipo, Kowepo and Kospo plus Hanwha Corporation Limited (a total of 10%). Since the Korean-owned coal mine at the Bylong Valley was denied coal mining permits, this is a method for Korea to obtain its coal supply, while it transitions to renewables.
d) The new Moolarben Coal mine Open Cut 3 will use significant amounts of water to wash its coal. The source and volumes of water for this activity has not been clarified.
e) There will be a permanent loss of potable, good quality (low salinity) groundwater from springs that provide fresh flows to creeks and the Goulburn River
f) There is a predicted loss of baseflows to the Goulburn River due to climate change. This is estimated to be between 180 – 225 million litres /year and 600 million litres in wet years. This will impact on river health and downstream water users, including Goulburn River National Park.
g) Unfortunately, a 200m buffer zone to Moolarben and Murdering Creeks includes mine haul roads and other infrastructure impacting crucial riparian vegetation. This will not protect Murdering Creek, Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve and the Goulburn River from massive damage while mining trucks are travelling day and night along the roads.
h) With current plans Moolarben Coal admits that it is possible that high level water seepages such as the Drip and Corner Gorges will be impacted by Moolarben Coal Mine with their current plan. It has already led to significant sandstone cliff removal.
i) This ancient, unique, beautiful and culturally significant river corridor area must be included in the Goulburn River National Park and must be protected from the impacts of mining. The significant disparities between the Moolarben and Ulan Coal Mines groundwater assessments is proof enough of the lack of accurate data regarding groundwater flow in the area.
j) Without real-time baseline measurements how can the impacts both short and long term on ground water be accurately predicted? Further pollution and damage to the Goulburn River is totally unacceptable. The River flows through the pristine Goulburn River National Park downstream from the present Moolarben Coal Mine.
k) The nationally significant icons of Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve and the Goulburn River and its connected groundwater system must be protected from more impacts of mining if the new Open Cut coal mine Extension is allowed to go ahead.
l) The cumulative effects of this mine and the other two neighbouring operations have already had negative effects on this struggling river system. This extension will place further stress on this ecosystem. We have serious concerns for the impacts of this extension on the groundwater associated with the Goulburn River system. We believe there should be an independent review of the groundwater model. The discharge of contaminated salty water from the mine is unacceptable. We oppose any additional discharge of water into the Goulburn River. We believe that the salt limit for any water discharge should be reduced to 500 Electrical Conductivity (EC), an indication of its salt content. Anything over 500EC is totally unsuitable, even for irrigation, let alone drinking water.
2. Biodiversity impacts:
a) The extended mining operations will come within 100m of the Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve threatening important conservation values, especially native birds and Koala habitat.
b) This will cause a loss of diversity of biodiversity and riparian habitat. It will impact community amenities in the Munghorn Nature Reserve, Murdering Creek, The Drip Corner Gorges and Goulburn River National Park.
c) Noise, dust and lights from the 24 hour operations will disrupt the many identified threatened and endangered birds, mammals and bat species that live in and around the valley.
d) The project would result in the clearing of 624.18 ha native vegetation. This includes 477.75 ha of Box-Gum Woodland Critically Endangered Ecological Communities. This is irreplaceable.
e) Ecosystem habitat loss for 22 threatened fauna species including: Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia), Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), Squirrel Glider (Petaurus norfolcensis), Large-eared Pied Bat (Chalinolobus dwyeri) and many others that have not yet been audited.
f) Incredibly, there is no monitoring or knowledge of the impacts of mining pollution on the species diverse and protected wildlife and vegetation of this beautiful National Park. Moolarben Coal has been continuously implored by local communities and Council to include The Drip and Corner Gorges in their assessment but to no avail.
3. First Nations heritage impacts:
A total of 130 first nations cultural heritage sites were identified within or overlapping the subject area including shelters with artefacts (one with possible burial), and axe grinding groove site. Scar trees have not been counted. The Mudgee Local Aboriginal Land Council believe that the potential threats to their cultural heritage are significant. The cumulative impacts of mining from the current Moolarben operation in addition to the neighbouring Glencore and Peabody operations have devastated their cultural heritage. Thousands of objects have been displaced or destroyed thus resulting on the loss of Indigenous children’s birthright. Once these places and objects have been destroyed they are gone forever – no amount of documentation or compensation can bring back this cultural material once it is destroyed. The impacts are irreversible. The destruction and loss of these sites and objects is equivalent to the blowing up of Juukan Gorge by Rio Tinto. Except in this case, the public are unaware of what is happening to the heritage that belongs to all Australians, not just First Nations.
4. Agricultural impacts:
Loss of food production potential on large areas of prime agricultural land previously supported many farming families. This land should be assessed as Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land (BSAL) and assessed through the Gateway process.
5 . Climate Change impacts:
The proposal is to produce an additional 40 million tonnes of coal and increase greenhouse gas emissions of 86.59 Million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
For all these reasons, the extension of the Moolarben coal mine must be challenged. We do not need more coal as recent climate changes have made abundantly clear. There are other alternatives. The coal will be exported overseas but the Australian government must accept responsibility for this existential act against plants, animals and ultimately humans.
Margaret Cameron
Object
LUE , New South Wales
Message
There is no future for new coal in our region!
Margaret May
Object
FIVE DOCK , New South Wales
Message
Attachments
Nature Conservation Council of NSW
Object
CHIPPENDALE , New South Wales
Message
Please see attached submission
Attachments
Mid-Western Regional Council
Comment
MUDGEE , New South Wales
Message
Attachments
Mudgee District Environment Group
Object
Budgee Budgee , New South Wales
Message
Four new open cut mines, water management infrastructure, haul roads and development of stockpiles and borrow pits, will create unacceptable loss of vegetation and associated animal communities, first nations heritage, major landform changes and natural water flow impingement, and contribute to the Global Climate Emergency.
MDEG members believe there is no valid justification for the project to proceed.
Attachments
Name Withheld
Object
OLINDA , New South Wales
Message
Moolarben Coalmine Extension to Open Cut3


A multinational operated for the Chinese giving them the use of over 80 sq km to produce 22 million tons (per year) until 1938 is ludicrous.
The cultural heritage values alone, should make it unthinkable especially noting their history so far.

What do you intend to do when the burning of coal
produces more , much more gas emissions ?


Water impacts and there are many I can think of

For instance the loss of good potable water flowing from springs into the Goulburn River affecting
downstream users including animals.

Dust and Noise, Lights from 24hour operations will make normal life for many of the endangered animals that live in and around the valley impossible.

Clearing of box gum Woodland (Critically Endangered)) This is irreplaceable and cannot be compensated for.

Agricultural land is important for food production and as such should revered not ripped off.
Correct Planning and Consultation for Mayfield (CPCFM)
Object
MAYFIELD , New South Wales
Message
Submission by Correct Planning and Consultation for Mayfield Group (CPCFM) the
Moolarben Coalmine Extension to Open Cut 3
https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/moolarben-oc3-extension-project
Correct Planning & Consultation for Mayfield (CPCFM) objects to this extension.
CPCFM was established in 2010. In the early days we had about 500 members and supporters. Currently we have about 200 members and supporters.
We are substantially engaged to advocate for the residents of Newcastle located in or near the Inner City Harbourside Suburbs of Mayfield, Tighes Hill, Islington, Carrington, Maryville, and Wickham on matters relating to Planning, Zoning, Development Approvals, The Environment and Climate, Renewable Energy, Hydrogen, A Transition Authority that would care for Coal affected Communities and workers - as the Coal Industry winds down, Transport - particularly Rail Transport, and other associated matters.
Since 2010 we have had a chance to observe the actions of Coal Mining companies, and the development of the Coal Chain infrastructure in the Hunter Valley, and we have made submissions to very many PACs and the like, and have often presented in their public hearings.

We have examined the evidence put forward by Mining Companies to support their applications for Mine Approvals and Extensions.
We have also examined the evidence put forward by many Industry Groups, and Environment, Climate and Planning groups, and individuals, in opposing these applications.

We are very connected to many volunteer groups and major industries in Newcastle and the Hunter, including having representatives on the Community Consultative Panels – and the like with:
Port of Newcastle (PoN) – and its predecessor Newcastle Port Corp;
Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS);
Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG);
Orica - Kooragang Island;
Stolthaven Fuel Terminals;
Koppers Chemicals;
And the Newcastle Community Consultation Committee for the Environment (NCCCe)

In all our roles as active community members we share their concerns about very poor planning practices at the Global, National, State and Local level that negatively affect - and lead to;

The poor state of the Planet;
Climate Change and Global Warming;
the emergence of Mega fires, and Storms, all of which contribute to;
catastrophic flooding, damage & destruction;
Deaths,
Social Disruption,
The loss of Species and Habitat,
The damage and loss of Valuable Agricultural Land.

With our backgrounds and learned experience we express our opposition to this Coal Mine Extension.
We also endorse the valuable reasonings expressed below:

Background
Moolarben Coalmine is a very large operation near Mudgee on the headwaters of the Goulburn River, a major tributary in the Hunter River catchment. The mine is owned and operated by Yancoal, a Chinese owned multinational. It has current approval to produce 22 million tonnes of thermal coal per annum until 2038 from four open cut mines and three underground mines. The mining complex covers over 80 sq. kms of sensitive environments with significant cultural heritage values. The cumulative impact of current approvals has caused a major loss of threatened species habitat and First Nations culture, sandstone cliff removal and collapse, and permanent loss of irreplaceable water sources.
The proposed expansion on exhibition intrudes further into the upper Moolarben valley, an area rich in biodiversity, ringed by natural springs and bounded on three sides by the outstanding Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve that straddles the Great Dividing Range.

Key points of objection:

1. Climate Change impacts:
The proposal is to produce an additional 40 million tonnes of coal and increase greenhouse gas emissions by 86.59 Mt CO2-e
2. First Nations heritage impacts:
A total of 130 first nations cultural heritage sites were identified within or overlapping the subject area including shelters with artefacts (one with possible burial), and axe grinding groove site
3. Water impacts:
• The permanent loss of potable, good quality (low salinity) groundwater from springs that provide fresh flows to creeks and the Goulburn River
• A predicted loss of baseflows to the Goulburn River between 180 – 225 million litres /year and 600 million litres in wet years. This will impact on river health and downstream water users, including Goulburn River National Park.
• A 200m buffer zone to Moolarben and Murdering Creeks (aimed at protecting them from mining) includes mine haul roads and other infrastructure impacting crucial riparian vegetation.
4. Biodiversity impacts:
• The extended mining operations will come within 100m of the Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve threatening important conservation values especially native bird and Koala habitat.
• Noise, dust and lights from the 24-hour operations will disrupt the many identified threatened and endangered birds, mammals and bat species that live in and around the valley.
• The project would result in the clearing of 624.18 ha native vegetation including:
477.75 ha of Box-Gum Woodland Critically Endangered Ecological Communities. This is irreplaceable and cannot be adequately offset.
• Ecosystem habitat loss for 22 threatened fauna species including: Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia), Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), Squirrel Glider (Petaurus norfolcensis), Large-eared Pied Bat (Chalinolobus dwyeri)
5. Agricultural impacts:
Loss of food production potential on large areas of prime agricultural land that previously supported many farming families. This land should be assessed as Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land (BSAL) and assessed through the Gateway process.

John L Hayes – Convenor 14th Dec 2022

Correct Planning and Consultation for Mayfield
Colin Imrie
Object
ULAN , New South Wales
Message
See attached for my Submission
Attachments
The Australia Institute
Object
GRIFFITH , Australian Capital Territory
Message
See attached submission
Attachments
Julia Imrie
Object
ULAN , New South Wales
Message
Thank you for the opportunity to object to the latest Moolarben Coal Complex (MCC) expansion proposal, equivalent in scale to a new coal mine development. The limited exhibition period and substantial bulk of the EIS has made it difficult to assess all relevant information. There are major problems and significant concerns with the proposed Project. These include the loss of biodiversity from the valley floor with the clearing of CEEC ecosystems, cumulative impacts on the surface and groundwater water system and the mines contribution to greenhouse gases fuelling destructive climate change. The scientific advice is clear; we need to urgently transition from coal if we are not going to exceed 1.5C global warming. To do this we cannot continue to open new coal resources or expand existing coal mines . The immense scale and extent of coal mining across the headwaters of the Goulburn catchment already has severely compromised the natural systems for centuries to come, this EIS does not genuinely assess the cumulative impacts of these mining operations past, present or future. See my full Submission Attched
Attachments
Phillip Enderby
Support
SPEERS POINT , New South Wales
Message
I support this project for its benefits to the local community and the people of NSW.
Lock the Gate Alliance
Object
Sydney , New South Wales
Message
Please see the attached submission for reasons for Lock the Gate's objection to this Project.
Attachments
Name Withheld
Object
BREAKFAST CREEK , New South Wales
Message
There wil be a permanent loss of potable groundwater from springs that contribute to the Goulburn River which has already lost water due to current mining activity.
The predicted baseflow loss to the Goulburn Riverof between 180-600mL/year is inexcusable .
The 200metre buffer zone to Moolarben and Murdering Creeks MUST exclude any activity assoiciated with mining.
The activity is far too close to to Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve which contains valuable habitat for many threatened species including Regent Honeyeater, Koala.
Noise, dust and lights will disrupt many species including threatened species.
There will be habitat loss for 22 Threatened Species
Loss of 624.18Ha of native vegetetion including 477.75Ha of Box-Gum-Woodland Critically Endangered Ecological Communities.
These are rapidly disappearing. The Biodiversity Offset system will not replace what is lost, nor can it provide habitat for displaced animals if that habitat is already at carrying capacity.
Bathurst Community Climate Action Network
Object
LLANARTH , New South Wales
Message
Please see attachment
Attachments

Pagination

Project Details

Application Number
SSD-33083358
EPBC ID Number
2022/9162
Assessment Type
State Significant Development
Development Type
Coal Mining
Local Government Areas
Mid-Western Regional

Contact Planner

Name
Jack Turner