THE environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed Watermark coalmine near Gunnedah went on public exhibition yesterday and, given the likely high interest attached to it, will be on display for two months, to allow for widespread consultation.
The Department of Planning says the Watermark coalmine is set to become one of the most thoroughly scrutinised mining projects in the state’s history.
The department said the project would be considered against the state government’s strategic regional land use policy, which has attracted widespread condemnation from regional landowners and farmers across the Liverpool Plains, and go to an independent gateway panel for “advice and key additional safeguards for aquifers and valuable agricultural land”.
Under the EIS, the Chinese coalminer Shenhua proposes Watermark, between Caroona and Breeza, will extract up to 10 million tonnes of coal a year for 30 years, using open-cut mining techniques.
Although details about where the Watermark EIS is on exhibition were not available last night, it is likely it will be displayed at the Gunnedah Shire Council and the Tamworth office of the Department of Planning.