A PROPOSAL to lay a 450 millimetre pipeline from Centennial Coal’s Springvale Colliery near Lithgow to a proposed gold mine near Blayney may become the first infrastructure carrying water from eastern-draining country to west of the Great Divide.
The pipeline would be used by a gold mine proposed by Regis Resources to transport saline water from the colliery and would represent 90 per cent of the mine’s operational water supply used in the mining process.
This water was previously released into Coxs River, which feeds into Warragamba Dam, a holding supplying much of Sydney with drinking water.
Environmentalists have been fighting to stop the colliery’s untreated water being released into Coxs River.
Regis Resources, which estimates mining the McPhillamy’s gold deposit would last about 10 years, has offered to increase the size of the trench to accommodate a second pipeline if anyone would care to drop it in.
The pipeline would have a capacity of 15 megalitres a day, but average 13ml.
I’ve been through droughts here and I think this pipeline could have long-term benefits for the region.
The water is reportedly stock water quality.
Regis Resources manager of special projects Tony McPaul said the company was already operating three gold mines in Western Australia and had an exploration area in the Central West that stretched from Molong to the southern side of Blayney.
He said the company had been quite upfront when suggesting anyone looking to duplicate the company’s pipeline was welcome to do so. “I live in the Central West,” he said, “and as a landholder I’ve been through droughts here and I think this pipeline could have long-term benefits for the region.
“The government is talking about what it can do for water security in the region, but that’s been it so far, a lot of talk and not much action.”
Mr McPaul has a 400 hectare property near Crookwell and a 20ha property near Orange. He said the mine would have about 400ml holding capacity in the form of two freshwater dams, allowing the company a two-week buffer to keep pumping from the colliery should operations near Blayney be put on hold.
The project is contentious, with a group of about 100 local landholders opposed to the new mine.