Mudgee District Environment Group has slammed the Glencore Ulan Coal Mine assessment of water impacts from the sixth proposed extension of mining under the Great Dividing Range at Ulan, north of Mudgee.

The group has written to the NSW Planning Minister, Paul Scully, outlining key issues that have not been addressed relating to ongoing significant cumulative impacts on groundwater in the region from coal mining.

The proposed extension of underground mining operations over 853 hectares at Ulan Mine will impact both the headwaters of the Mona Creek/Talbragar River catchment which is part of the Murray Darling Basin and the Goulburn River, flowing on to the Hunter River, that includes The Drip Gorge.

Chair of Mudgee District Environment Group, Rosemary Hadaway:

‘Coal mines drawdown groundwater into the mined pit, intercept and collect surface water runoff. These impacts on water systems must be understood before a project is approved, and mines use modelling to predict the changes. The problem is that Glencore has not provided sufficient monitoring data to have confidence in the modelling and long term cumulative impacts, despite the government asking for this. They have not included climate change impacts in their assessment. Neither do they have sufficient water licences to cover the expected water take.’

The letter to the Planning Minister has pointed out key failings in providing the information requested to assist with the government’s assessment process.’

‘Two iconic river systems are at risk from this coal mine expansion. We cannot allow further sacrifice of our water particularly in these times of changing weather patterns and predicted extended droughts.’

Ulan Modification 6 should not be approved.