WHITEHAVEN Coal’s poor record with compliance at Maules Creek is proof the government should not consider the company’s application to extend its Vickery coal mine, Boggabri farmers say.
However, Whitehaven maintains it has a great record of environmental management, and on any given day complies with around 7000 obligations across its six operations in the Gunnedah Basin regions.
It was recently revealed the environmental risk of Whitehaven’s Maules Creek coal mine was elevated to level three by the EPA, making it only one of three mines in the state in the highest risk category.
The Boggabri Farming and Community Group (BFCG) spokesman David Watt said after witnessing the “whole fiasco” at Maules Creek, the community was fearful about the potential environmental consequences of the Vickery extension, which would come within 350m of the Namoi River.
“Either their whole modelling process is flawed at Maules Creek, or they just don’t care,” Mr Watt said.
A Whitehaven spokesperson said over the term of a project, it was not unexpected for the EPA to review a mine’s risk level.
“We have a great deal of confidence in our record of environmental management and the trend of strong compliance we believe the company has demonstrated over many years,” the spokesperson said.
As part of the Environmental Impact Statement for the Vickery extension, Whitehaven said it had commissioned independent scientific and technical experts to assess any potential impacts to the Namoi River and the local floodplain arising from localised mining activity.
“We are confident that any possible impacts can be managed,” the spokesperson said.