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Rio's mine extension approved at Bulga

31 Jan, 2014 09:41 AM
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Too many Hunter villages have already been lost to mining – Bulga must not be next

The NSW Planning Assessment Commision has approved an extension of Rio Tinto’s Warkworth open cut coal mine in the Upper Hunter Valley.

The approval will allow Rio to extend its mine into land, previously proposed for expansion, but rejected by the NSW Land and Environment Court last year.

Residents of the adjacent town of Bulga fear the approval will decimate the town.

Bulga Milbrodale Progress Association president John Krey said the decision revealed flaws in the government’s recent revamped State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP).

Recent SEPP amendments require the economic resource, or output of the mine, to be significant to the State. However Mr Krey said in this case “there wasn't a single economic argument put forward."

Steve Philips from Lock the Gate says his organization will continue their work to protect the small town.

“The Government may be willing to sacrifice Bulga for the benefit of a powerful global mining corporation, but there are many in the community who are not.

“We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with Bulga residents to protect their town. Too many Hunter villages have already been lost to mining – Bulga must not be next,” he said.

However, the decision has been welcomed by NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee.

“This is a good decision that will enable (Rio Tinto) to maintain production at current levels for around two years,” Mr Galilee said.

He said the mine’s extension will significantly benefit the Upper Hunter region.

“This project has been operating for over thirty years, and is an economic mainstay for the region, driving “significant” local economic activity.

“In 2012, the mine spent more than $210 million on close to 280 local suppliers in the Upper Hunter Valley. This direct spending also generated significant additional economic activity right across the Hunter region.”

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READER COMMENTS

Vicki
3/02/2014 11:11:14 AM, on The Land

If the government said no to expansion, I suspect Rio Tinto would start looking for sustainable energy projects. As long as they are allowed to expand, they won't worry about sustainable energy.
Louisa
31/03/2014 11:36:51 PM, on The Land

International prices will be the death of the Australian coal industry. Why then are Rio Tinto and the NSW government flogging this dead horse? Also with the latest IPCC report and predictions on the destructive effects coal and other polluting industries are having on the planet and by default all species, including the human species, why are the proponents of these industries still bemoaning a few job losses. When the need arises go retrain and/or relocate like everyone else who wants to continue working. Preferably, go and become scientifically literate to understand climate change.

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I like Bill Heffernan and he has some valid points. We should tighten international tax treaties
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He represents the future of agriculture in this country, wtf, and the future of agriculture is
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some will say their best years have been el nino ones