Greg Hunt should reject Shenhua coal mine after critical expert advice

MEDIA RELEASE – 7 May 2015

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said federal Environment Minister, Greg Hunt must reject the Shenhua Watermark coal mine in the heart of the productive Liverpool Plains, after the  Independent Expert Scientific Committee’s advice on the Shenhua Watermark coal project was released .

“If this mine goes ahead it will be a national disgrace,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“From this report it is clear that the Shenhua Watermark mine application is woefully deficient with inadequate water monitoring programmes, uncertainty surrounding the risks to threatened ecological communities, no plans for what happens if key trigger values are exceeded and the potential for long-term salinity.

“The ball is now firmly in Greg Hunt and Barnaby Joyce’s court and they have to decide whether they are prepared to put Australia’s food bowl at risk for the short term profits of a Chinese Government owned mining giant.”

According to the IESC report:


  • The risks to Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems, including EPBC-listed ecological communities (such as White Box-Yellow Box-Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland and Derived Native Grassland), from the mine “remain uncertain”. (p2)
  • Change to groundwater pressure and/or level within the Upper Namoi Alluvium groundwater resource is the “key potential impact associated with the proposed project” (pA1)
  • there are “currently no plans” for the appropriate management responses if trigger values are exceeded. (p9)
  • there is the “potential for local-scale impacts to surface water quality and long-term salinity changes associated with the final landform.” (pA1)
  • the IESC is not satisfied the proposed surface water and groundwater monitoring programmes are robust and any potential impacts on water resources and water related assets will be detected (p7)
  • There is a risk of cumulative impacts to the south of the proposed project area (p4)



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