Minister appeals Medway expansion decision

THE future of Boral’s Medway colliery in Berrima has been given a boost by New South Wales Planning Minister Brad Hazzard lodging an appeal against the Environment Court ruling that refused project approval for a $4 million mine expansion to 460,000 tonnes per annum.
Minister appeals Medway expansion decision Minister appeals Medway expansion decision Minister appeals Medway expansion decision Minister appeals Medway expansion decision Minister appeals Medway expansion decision

NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard.

Lou Caruana

Underground contractor Delta SBD has a whole of mine contract with the historic NSW colliery and also lodged an appeal against the Environment Court ruling, which overturned a Planning Assessment Commission approval in June 2012.

“Delta SBD … advises that a second appeal against the above ruling has been lodged by the NSW minister for planning and infrastructure,” the company said.

“Delta SBD will continue working closely with Boral through the appeal process and will provide further information when it is available.”

The Environment Court had put the onus on the mining company to prove it would not disrupt the hydrology of the local area by expanding the bord and pillar operation, despite it being in operation since the 1870s.

Boral is continuing operations at the 200,000tpa Medway colliery while the appeals are being heard in the Environment Court.

The loss of Delta SBD’s whole of mine contract would be a blow for the contractor especially after it learned from Whitehaven Coal in February that its development contract at Narrabri would be terminated early.

Delta DSB has been conducting mining for Boral since 2009.

Medway colliery, which started in the 1920s, employs 40 people.

It is the primary source of energy for the nearby Berrima cement works, which in turn employs 130 people.

Following the decision, Delta SBD took legal advice in respect of its operations at the mine and said normal operations would continue at the Medway colliery.

“Delta SBD is working closely with Boral while Boral assesses its future course of action in respect of Berrima [Medway] colliery operations,” the company said.

Medway colliery and cement works operations manager Stuart Hutchings said: “We have reassured our employees and contractors at the colliery and the cement works that we can, and will continue colliery operations based on our existing 2009 subsidence management plan approval, our current environmental protection licence and continuing user rights under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

“We are therefore not expecting disruption to the current supply of coal to the cement works.”

Boral expressed disappointment with the decision handed down by the two commissioners of the court.

“The quick decision by the two commissioners to uphold the appeal against the Planning and Assessment Commission’s approval was baffling,” Hutchings said.

“The commissioners’ decision overruled the previous approval, granted by the government’s expert panel after a rigorous two-year assessment process that closely scrutinised truck movements and environmental impacts.

“We are actively assessing our options in response to the decision.

“Boral remains committed to continuing the environmental monitoring programs and community consultation forum which formed part of the overturned approval.”