Key documents withheld by Shenhua over coal licence

MEDIA RELEASE – 2 September 2013

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham is calling on coal giant Shenhua to come clean and allow the release of key documents relating to their exploration licence, after the company blocked twenty key documents from being release with a freedom of information request lodged by the Greens. Shenhua

“I am very disappointed that Shenhua have decided to block the release of key documents relating to how they were granted the exploration licence by former minister Ian Macdonald,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The departmental assessor has decided to release most of the documents, but the Chinese state-owned company has blocked their release – it’s a real challenge to the transparency of our Australian democratic system.

“Included in the documents blocked from released is correspondence between the former minister Ian Macdonald and the company, as well as the company’s lawyers and treasury regarding special conditions and payments.

“The minimum bid for this exploration licence was $20 million, yet Shenhua ended up paying $300 million.  The Greens requested the documents to find out why they were prepared to pay such a premium.

“Ian Macdonald, the former minister who approved this exploration licence, has now been found by the Independent Commission Against Corruption to have acted corruptly in the allocation of two other coal exploration licences.

“This is one of the largest coal developments in the state’s history, in one of the best agricultural areas, that has attracted fierce opposition from farmers and environmentalists.

“The Shenhua Watermark project is being progressed towards assessment by Department of Planning and it is important that MPs and citizens are able to access key documents relating to this project before it is progressed any further,” said Mr Buckingham.

The company has 40 days in which to substantiate its objection to the release of the documents.  The Greens will challenge any objection.

Attached: Schedule of documents

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or  0419 444 916

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