NSW coal mines fined $12k

THE New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment has issued three fines totalling $12,000 to coal mining operations in the Leard Forest in the Gunnedah Basin.

Lou Caruana

It released a summary report for the biodiversity and Aboriginal cultural heritage audit carried out on the Leard Forest mining precinct in February 2015 which lead to the fines being imposed.

The audit found that Boggabri Coal had conducted 7.7 hectares of unauthorised understorey clearing of native vegetation.

The company was fined $6,000 and required to implement an action plan including rehabilitation of the area, providing an extra 19 hectares of offset land and a review of procedures to ensure no further unauthorised clearing.

Whitehaven Coal’s Maules Creek coal mine had not fully implemented its biodiversity management plan. The company was fined $3,000.

Tarrawonga Coal, which is also owned by Whitehaven, had not fully implemented its flora and fauna management plan. The company was fined $3,000.

“The Department has also agreed to accept action plans from the companies to address the non-compliances and will follow up to ensure these are implemented,” a departmental spokesperson said.

“Our compliance officers conduct regular inspections and unannounced spot-checks of mines to make sure they are operating in accordance with project approval conditions.

“The Department has recently doubled the number of compliance officers working across the State.”