NSW environment dept expands in Gunnedah

THE New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment’s compliance team has expanded its function to monitor mining and CSG projects in the fast-growing Gunnedah region, which hosts Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek and Idemitsu’s Boggabri coal projects.

Lou Caruana

The department set up a standalone compliance office in Singleton in 2010 to oversee the Upper Hunter coal mines and the office has progressively expanded its coverage since then to include the Gloucester and Mudgee regions.

Executive director Chris Wilson said this localised approach had allowed the department to respond quickly and effectively to local mining compliance issues.

“The expansion of our coverage to the Gunnedah region demonstrates our commitment to compliance reporting and enforcement, as well as engagement with local communities,” Wilson said.

Compliance officer Ben Harrison will lead the expansion as the department’s Northern Region compliance team leader.

Harrison said the team will monitor mining operations in the Gunnedah region, including the Tarrawonga, Rocglen, Werris Creek, Boggabri and Maules Creek open cut operations and the Narrabri underground mine.

“I am looking forward to working with the community and mining companies to ensure mining operations are operating in accordance with their approvals and striving to improve their environmental performance,” he said.

“My role will be to listen to community concerns, conduct audits, respond to complaints, investigate potential breaches and take enforcement action where breaches are confirmed.”