On Wednesday 18th November some of your committee met with Centennial Coal (Beau Preston and John Sandona). Here are some notes from that meeting.
Hydrogeologcal information will be collected as part of exploration drilling
Mining will happen – if the coal resource is adequate and price right, regardless of any impact on water
Mining plans are not yet formulated as need information from the drilling program
Open cut is a possibility as they are looking at all options
Water management plans are not done yet
· Some 60 landholders have taken part.
· Centennial approached another 57 of which some have rejected participation, others are not interested or don’t have anything to measure and from some there has been no response at all. Centennial are confident they have a wide enough geographic spread to enable a good picture to be drawn of the water resource.
· Because of privacy issues Centennial rejected the idea of RSWUA approaching those who had not participated in order to encourage them to do so.
· Centennial could have stopped the study 3 weeks ago, but have chosen to extend it and hope it demonstrates they are not treating the water census as a token exercise.
· The water census is to provide: a)specific site information relevant to where actual drill holes would go and b) to draw a global picture and c) this data will provide the platform on which to build further water studies.
· Given that the current result is atypical because of the recent wet conditions, the exercise will be repeated. Water studies have to be done over a minimum of one year (part of exploration licence conditions).
· Flow studies and lack thereof was questioned, with response being that where flow could be measured it was done so. JS agreed to look into an instance where landholders were told a spot on Gibbons Ck could not be measured as it was outside the exploration lease area.
· The water census is not relevant to the drilling program. THERE WAS MUCH DISCUSSION AROUND THIS POINT. RSWUA questioned why Centennial were handing out access agreements for exploratory holes before they even had the results of the water census, let alone a full hydrogeological survey. Centennial’s response was that some people were happy to sign now and that it was possible to do things in parallel as it gives landholders time to consider special conditions and wording. Landholders were under no pressure. There will be no drilling until the water census report is finalised.
· Peter Docker raised fact that he had had no response to his August letter regarding access for water census. Centennial maintained a response had been drafted - but obviously it had never been sent.
· RSWUA again requested that a full hydrogeological survey being done before any exploratory drilling. RSWUA maintains that such a survey would involve a different drilling technique and pattern.
· Centennial maintained that the hydrogeological survey will be done over time and as part of the drilling program where presence of water as well as the rock strata will be recorded. It is their intent to do both at same time and they are being guided by a hydrogeologist.
· The full hydrogeological study is part of their study for the mine.
· Centennial were asked to put into writing their technical explanation of the drilling process with the geophysical and sonic logging that is done so that people can study it and understand the whole process. They agreed to do this.
· Centennial also agreed to have a public meeting where the overall results of the water census report could be presented and discussed. A hydrogeologist (Aquaterra) will be present at that meeting to answer technical questions.
· At the same time there will be a full technical explanation of the drilling and how this would provide adequate hydrological information. Before that meeting a full technical brief on the drilling (what and how) will be given to RSWUA.
· May need separate access agreement for monitoring if borehole becomes a pisometer (measure water depths).
· Compensation - are covered if can demonstrate compensable loss - NB the issues that are covered as compensable loss in the Mining Act DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY MENTION WATER
· Rehabilitation plans will be part of the Environmental Assessment which forms part of the mine application process
· Drilling not till water census completed and presented to the community.
Community Consultative Committee
· The Chairperson for this has been appointed – Margaret McDonald-Hill. Will be called a Community Liaison Committee (CLC) and will include a Dept of I&I rep plus a rep from each of the local govt areas (Lithgow and Mid-Western).
· Adds will be placed in the paper within the next few weeks asking for people to nominate. Centennial expects the Chair to call the inaugural meeting in Feb.
· Centennial suggested that the public meeting should be held after the CLC has held its first meeting.