An environmental assessment of the Gloucester’s Duralie mine has found that it requires the depth of an open-cut pit at the site be increased and the surface development expanded, according to the article on The Newcastle Herald.
The proposed modifications, subject to Government approval, entail expanding the mine’s surface development by 2.5 kilometres and involve the removal of a pillar between two pits in order to enable the efficient extraction of coal and to ensure the geotechnical stability of the pit walls.
“Without the modification, waste emplacement at the Duralie Coal Mine would be constrained and a portion of the coal reserves approved to be extracted from the Weismantel and Clareval open pits until 2019 would be foregone,” the assessment said.
Ironstone Community Action Group Amanda Albury said the proposed modification was “death by a thousand cuts.”
“There’s no such thing as a minor modification when it comes to mining,” she said.
“They will remove mountains and rivers to get at what is the equivalent of a powder-puff of coal because the government will always give them approval.”
The environmental assessment estimates the proposed modification would not result in changes to the maximum annual coal production, annual waste rock extraction, coal seams mined or operational workforce.
“The modification would enable the continuation of the direct and indirect socio-economic benefits associated with the operation of the Duralie Coal Mine via the continuation of employment, expenditure in the local and state economies, and the payment of royalties and taxes,” it said.
The proposed modifications will remain on exhibition until 30 July.