Sunday, June 2, 2013

Moolarben Coal Mine applies to be allowed to pollute Goulburn River when it rains moderately.

Since arriving back from the Drip last week, we have heard from Julia that Moolarben Coal Mine (MCM) has just put out on exhibition yet another Mine Modification – ‘MCM optimisation Mod 9”. She said it is applying to significantly increase the open pit size of the Stage 1 approval. This involves taking out most of a native vegetated hillside comprised of 171 hectares of native veg (including EPBC Grassy Box Woodlands) in the Moolarben Valley.

A stand out concern is the increased risk of downstream water pollution into the Goulburn River from these massive pits adjacent to the Moolarben creek (upper tributary of the Goulburn)
– MCO are applying for a ‘get out of jail clause’ to their Environmental Pollution License – so they can discharge with limits whenever we receive moderate train fall over 5 days period

“However, C
ondition L2.6 in the proposed EPL states that the limits specified in Table 2.9 and
Table 2.10 do not apply when the discharge occurs solely as a result of rainfall measured at the
site which exceeds 44mm of rainfall over a consecutive 5-day period”.
This clause is an admission that the only way to manage the proposed scale of open pits is to have free rein to pollute the river whenever moderate rain falls.

In the first 3 months of 2013 MCM would have been able to discharge at least 3 times under these non- conditions.

Submissions to the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure are due by 14 June 2013.

Research visit to The Drip on the Goulburn River, 24-6 May 2013

On Friday 24 May we travelled to Gleniston, a property on the Goulburn River north of Mudgee in NSW, to see first hand something of what is happening to land being mined, and being explored for mining. Those of us who arrived at night saw the dramatic lit-up Moolarben open-cut mine at Ulan, about 10kms south of Gleniston.  We heard about and discussed the situation with Julia Imrie, joint owner of Gleniston and PhD candidate in water management in Environmental Studies at ANU.

On Saturday, Julia walked us through her property to show us the location of Moolarben Coal's planned drill holes, and to see where Moolarben's long wall mining is planned just short of the Goulburn River where the famous Drip is located, to visit the Drip, and walk out down the river. In the afternoon we decorated and ate delicious pizzas cooked in the pizza oven in the back garden of Julia and Colin's place, and visited Colin's woodworking studio, and heard about the process of building the 3 delightful stone cottages, two of which we stayed in during the 2 nights. 

We had a wonderful time, staying in super-comfortable accommodation, with fantastic company in each other and our hosts Julia and Colin and the animals and birds, and located in the most relaxing and delightful bush and landscape that mining companies plan to destroy whole areas of because they think the land is just there to convert into dollars for them and their shareholders, and because they think there is no future anyway so they had better rip out what they can get while they can. Even thuogh there are campaigns to save the Goulburn river we hope the market collapses because that seems to be the only thing that means anything to them.

We hope to return soon with the rest of the WRVAP members, Noelene Lucas, Virginia Hilyard and Juliet Fowler Smith who couldn't make it this time.

L-R: Julia Imrie, Margaret Roberts, Suzanne Bartos, Ann Finegan, 
doggie 1, Christine McMillan, Chris Ward, Toni Warburton, Denise Corrigan
L-R above at the Drip: Suzanne Bartos, Toni Warburton 
Chris Ward, David Watson (front), Margaret Roberts, 
Christine McMillan (back), Julia Imrie, Ann Finegan.

above: at and near The Drip on the Goulburn River
Photos by David Watson