Connect with us


‘Nut coal’ project given approval despite stone pagoda concerns

The NSW Planning Assessment Commission has given approval for the reopening of a coal mine in a regi..

The NSW Planning Assessment Commission has given approval for the reopening of a coal mine in a region of the Blue Mountains that it had previously deemed to be "incompatible with the significant conservation of the site".

The commission's determination supporting the extension of the Invincible Coal Mine also came despite its conclusion that the current state of rehabilitation on the site had been "suboptimal" and a requirement to fill three residual voids was "unlikely to be achieved".

Pagodas in the Gardens of Stone near Lithgow in the Blue Mountains. Photo: Peter Hanam

The independent agency had previously rejected a mine proposal made by then owner Coalpac Corp that had been granted by the Labor government in 2008. In its 2014 report, the commission said open-cut mining intruding into the nearby towering sandstone pagodas in the Gardens of Stone posed "unacceptable risks and impacts, and only limited short-term benefits".

Castlereagh Coal, the project's owners since 2015, won a reversal of the commission's verdict by pledging to contain the mine's additional disturbance to 38 hectares and to complete unfinished rehabilitation work.

Invincible Mine with sandstone formations in the background.
Invincible Mine with sandstone formations in the background. Photo: Colong Foundation

Brett Moore, the mine's project manager, said approval would secure "up to 35 full-time jobs", and boost the economy of Cullen Bullen, near Lithgow.

“Locals will be employed in high skilled and high-tech jobs, royalties will be generated for the state government, and small businesses will benefit from servicing the local mining industry," Mr Moore said in a statement.

The mine's output would be 2.7 million tonnes of poor-quality fuel known as "nut coal", which would mostly head to Manildra's Shoalhaven Starches Plant at Bombaderry. The fuel source now accounts for about 30 per cent of the plant's energy costs, the PAC report said.

You will now receive updates fromBreaking News Alert

Breaking News Alert

Get the latest news and updates emailed straight to your inbox.

The mine, which is currently under care and maintenance, was acquired in 2015.

Keith Muir, director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, said the commission's reversal came even though its previous assessment had found conservation "to be the highest and best use of the area”.

The environmental group said a range of issues remain unresolved, such as, its water discharge points will be from the Baal Bone mine that will close this year.

The protection of one of the state's rarest butterflies, the purple copper butterfly, will rely on the replanting of its bushy habitat, a move that "has very little chance of working”, he said.

“On top of this is the old chestnut that the mine approval was justified so as to rehabilitate past mining areas, which is not a good argument because it’s a never ending one”, Mr Muir said.

A spokesman for Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said the minister never comments on PAC decisions.

Jeremy Buckingham, Greens resources spokesman, said it was "bonkers" to approve reviving an old coal mine in "the incredible Gardens of Stone … just so [Manildra] can convert their Shoalhaven flour mill from gas to old fashioned coal boilers".

“In 2018, we should be assisting industry to transition to renewable energy, not approving new dirty, destructive coal mines," Mr Buckingham said.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


So, we guess this means Beyonce and Jay-Z are OK then

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last..

The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last weekend. As you'd expect, it's a statement.

There is arguably no couple better at controlling their own press than Beyonce and Jay-Z. When a video surfaced in 2014 showing Bey's younger sister Solange attacking her brother-in-law in an elevator, rumours of a strained marriage proliferated.

Rather than battle the tabloids, the spouses used the gossip to fuel the creation of two critically beloved, commercially successful records: Beyonce's Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44. And, in them, they offered just as many details about their private lives as they chose.

Beyonce and Jay-Z on stage in France for the 2014 On the Run tour.

Photo: Rob Hoffman

Now the couple have continued their domination of pop music, surprising the world last Saturday by releasing their joint album Everything Is Love, which is something of a sequel to those two solo records. Though they have collaborated for at least 15 years, this marks their first joint album, which they dropped under the name The Carters.

The record is a victory lap from a couple who have mined their relationship for universal truths and then presented them as art. It's a fierce love letter to success, to family, to blackness – but, most of all, to each other.

Artwork for the album Everything is Love by The Carters, aka Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Photo: Karl Quinn


Lyrically, it primarily focuses on two aspects of the Carters' lives: their marriage and their success. (more…)

Continue Reading


Rachel Griffiths: female characters are finally getting real on screen

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, P..

Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Top of the Lake show that female characters are finally coming of age on Australian screens.

In a spirited speech at the launch of a new state government scheme to support more women directors in television, the actor-turned-director said it was exciting to see female characters move beyond "the typical tropes of 'likable, f—able, adorable'" to "more complex depictions of female experience" recently.

Happy to see "more complex depictions of female experience": Rachel Griffiths (left) with Leah Purcell at the launch of #SheDirects.

Photo: Louie Douvis

While she acknowledged there were male directors who created fresh and compelling women characters, Griffiths said the "male gaze" often reduced them to colouring the characters of their male counterparts.

"[They are created to] make him hot, make him authentic, make him empathetic, make him fatherly, make him conflicted, make him grieve," she said. "In the male gaze, we are so often not the gatekeepers; we're not the ferryman. Sometimes the mentor but usually only ironically, like Judi Dench's M…

"Under-written and under-observed, brought into our sexual awareness precociously and prepubescent in order to accommodate the male libido.


"Often in television we're used by lazy writers and producers who can think of nothing more interesting this week than 'let's have her have sex with X' or 'discover she's a lesbian – for an episode'."

Griffiths, who is about to begin editing the Melbourne Cup drama Ride Like A Girl after finishing the shoot, endorsed Hollywood star Sandra Bullock's recent comment that it was time for women to "stop being polite" about gender equality. (more…)

Continue Reading


Rachel Maddow breaks down on air over Trump immigration policy

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest development..

US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest developments in the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

Maddow, who hosts her own show on MSNBC, was reading from a breaking news release from the Associated Press that revealed government officials have been sending babies and toddlers to what are being called "tender age" shelters in the US.

The youngsters are some of the 2,300 children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border since the White House announced a zero-tolerance policy on migrant families in May.

"The AP has just broken some new news," Maddow started.

"Um, this has just come out from the Associated Press, this is incredible. Trump administration have been sending babies and other young children – oh, hold on," she said, her voice breaking.


Maddow attempted to get through the breaking news piece one more time before moving the show over to a guest. "To at least three – three tender age shelters in South Texas. Lawyers and medical providers… I think I'm going to have to hand this off. Sorry."

Maddow took to Twitter shortly after the segment aired to say sorry to her viewers. "Again, I apologise for losing it there for a moment," she wrote. "Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile."

She also tweeted out what she had been trying to say in her live read, writing out what was presented in the AP story. "Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the "tender age" shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis…" she wrote.

"Decades after the nations child welfare system ended the use of orphanages over concerns about the lasting trauma to children, the administration is standing up new institutions to hold Central American toddlers that the government separated from their parents." (more…)

Continue Reading