Even when we see a light at the end of the tunnel – with power stations and mining impacting on the lives of residents in the north by way of air pollution, ash dams and all the externalities – Delta Coal is now hell-bent on expanding their operations under our lakes and land.
The latest from Delta is the Chain Valley Colliery Consolidation Project (Phase two consultation for coal mine extension, Chronicle p23 Sep 8).
It’s the consolidation of two Delta-owned mines, the Chain Valley Colliery and Mannering Colliery to make it easier for them to fulfil their legal obligations for licensing and to extend the life of coal mining in the built-up residential areas for a further two years.
This will directly impact Chain Valley Bay, Summerland Point, Kingfisher Shores, parts of Doyalson, Mannering Park, Wyee Point and north to Morisset Park, Brightwaters, Mirrabooka and Sunshine.
An Environmental Impact Statement and Social Impact Assessment will be required before the NSW Environment Protection Authority can consider the project, yet we all know that as long as you’re willing to pay for a licence to pollute, it is usually granted.
The impacts are many for both the residents and lake with subsidence predicted between 20mm up to 780mm in the lake and around the foreshore.
Amenity impacts relate to noise and/or vibrations, air quality, ground and stormwater, biodiversity, heritage, economic and climate change, to name a few.
Delta Coal’s obligation to routinely monitor any predicted subsidence is tokenistic, especially when or after the subsidence has already occurred and along with the closure of the NSW Mine Subsidence Board, residents will now need to take on the might of the coal companies for any compensation.
It is the legacies left behind when both the coal mines and power stations are determined to be obsolete and the owners, backed by contracts with the NSW Government and having made their fortunes, can simply walk away leaving tens of thousand tonnes of toxic coal ash and a honeycomb of mine voids under both land and lake, to potentially decay and become issues for future generations.
This region is expected to carry the majority of the NSW economy when it comes to producing power for electricity.
Yet I believe we have done so for decades to our detriment and have paid and will pay for that privilege for many more decades with health and environmental impacts which will not simply disappear.
It is expected that the required legal obligations of statements and assessments will be completed by October 2021 and I would expect all residents of the region to write to the NSW Environmental Protection Authority and object to any approval of the Consolidation Project.
Email, Sep 8
Gary Blaschke, Lake Munmorah