Werris Creek coal mine water disaster should prompt buy-back of Shenhua licence
MEDIA RELEASE – 6 November 2015
The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said a new report that shows that the Werris Creek coal mine is partially responsible for nearby farmer’s water bores going dry, should prompt the government to negotiate a buy-back of the Shenhua Watermark coal mine licence to ensure a similar disaster does not happen on the Liverpool Plains.
Doug Anderson of University of NSW found the coal mine was responsible for at least 25% of underground water losses of between 4.5 and 15 metres, despite a predicted drop of only 10 centimetres. Whitehaven have recently installed a third evaporator at the Werris Creek coal mine to deal with water flooding the mine pit.
“The risk to surface and ground water, agricultural productivity and climate are far too great to allow these mines to go ahead. The government should be sitting down and negotiating a reasonable exit strategy for Shenhua to hand back its exploration licence and walk away,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.
“All the water modelling in the world does not compare to a real life experience, and here we have a disaster only a few kilometres away from the Shenhua Watermark mine site.
“The feared impacts of coal mining on ground water have become a reality at Werris Creek and they will be repeated at the Caroona and Shenhua Watermark mines on the Liverpool Plains if they go ahead.
“The photos of the flooded mine pit and the fact that Whitehaven have installed a third evaporator to try to get rid of the excess water, shows this mine has hit serious problems and the government investigation must be thorough and the results of the investigation should be made public,” he said.
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