Ley gives coal a fair go

FEDERAL environment minister Sussan Ley deserves plaudits for sticking to sound evidence-based principles and approving four coal mine projects in New South Wales.
Ley gives coal a fair go Ley gives coal a fair go Ley gives coal a fair go Ley gives coal a fair go Ley gives coal a fair go

The minister has a responsibility to make decision based on Australian law.

This is happening at a time that the federal government is coming under increasing pressure to toe the line of the renewables lobby and accept net zero targets for 2050.

It is a triumph of Australia's highly respected environmental regulatory system over a dogmatic climate change ideology dictated to us by overseas governments who have their own agendas.

Ley has approved - with strict conditions - Wollongong Coal's Russell Vale expansion, Whitehaven Coal's Vickery extension, Simec Mining's Tahmoor South project, and Glencore's Mangoola expansion.   

These projects are all extensions of existing projects and provide employment certainty to thousands of workers and the regional communities they live in.

They represent a significant amount of investment capital and reflect a commitment to Australia's coal industry and the confidence in the regulatory system to deal fairly with their applications.

Mangoola's approval will allow for an extension of operation for another eight years, mining at the rate of 13.5 million tonnes per annum.

Whitehaven was allowed to modify its approved Vickery coal project to operate as an up to 10Mtpa open cut metallurgical and thermal coal mine, with onsite processing and rail infrastructure.

Ley approved the $607 million project under the federal government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act with 37 conditions.

Tahmoor Coal, a subsidiary of Simec Mining, gained approval to extract 33Mt of run-of-mine coal over 10 years from 12 longwall panels to the south of its existing operations.

Wollongong Coal's Russell Vale Revised Underground Expansion project in the Illawarra region will allow underground mining operations to resume after the mine was locked up in care and maintenance for months.

All worthy projects - but this has not stopped the environmentalist lobby from making ad hominem attacks on Ley.

Lock the Gate Alliance spokeswoman Georgina Woods said it appeared Ley was "abandoning Australian children who would be forced to live with the climate harms she had helped create".

"Glencore's Mangoola coal mine expansion was opposed by Muswellbrook council and local landholders because of its unacceptable social and environmental impacts," she said.

"But the Morrison government seems more interested in allowing Glencore to make a few extra million out of exploiting the Hunter Valley than it is in the welfare of the community and the land.

"These decisions come just weeks before pivotal global climate change negotiations at Glasgow."

The minister has a responsibility to make decision based on Australian law and regulations in her own sovereign jurisdiction in the national interest - not kow-tow to foreign governments' expectations and the might of the trillion-dollar renewables industry.