LOCALS and economic experts have slammed a proposal to sell or lease the State government-owned Cobbora Coal Mine licence at a Planning Commission public hearing held on Tuesday in Dunedoo.
Roderick Campbell, economist for the Australia Institute, attended the meeting, after first making a submission on the proposal back when it was was first put forward by disgraced former ALP Resources Minister Ian Macdonald about two years ago.
Mr Campbell said nothing had changed since then, with the low quality of the coal at the site and the long distance to the nearest port, the Cobbora mine could lose up to $1.5 billion.
"I can't think of who would buy it (the mine)," he said.
Mr Campbell said the Treasury's own figures showed the mine would make a $1.5 billion loss, however the figures being used by the Planning Commission said the mine would make $2 billion profit.
"They can't both be right," he said.
Mr Campbell said the NSW government originally decided scrap the proposal for the mine after it took over from the previous Labor government, following the Treasury showing it would make a loss.
Now, however, the Cobbora project was back on the table as the government looked for private buyers for the licence for the mine.
Local resident and GP Sara Fergusson said the heavy-handed way in which land purchasing and leasing agreements regarding the mine took place had fractured the once-close community.
"The uncertainty over this project is rocking the community.
"A lot of the local people are too frightened to speak out," Dr Fergusson said.
"This project has been clouded in Cobbora Holdings secret handshakes and heavy threats. Land purchasing and current leasing agreements are not transparent while immense sums of taxpayer money has been spent."
The meeting allowed residents to voice their concerns, however the Planning Commission said it would be some time before any final decision was made on the issue.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.