August 30, 2011


We have managed to organise a workshop on the weekend so if you missed the earlier workshops, Saturday 10th, 2011 is your chance to find out about mining and your legal rights. Dont miss it - it is a VERY informative 3 hours and IT'S FREE! Dont forget to RSVP so we have enough catering.

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August 29, 2011

Defend Our Water - Come to our Community meeting - Friday 9th September

The national Lock the Gate campaign is helping to raise awareness of the impact of mining on water resources so while their emphasis is on coal seam gas mining, it also helps our campaign to protect our water from Coal Mining. Also people may not  be aware there is a Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL 483) held by East Coast Power Pty Ltd covering the Ilford/Running Stream Area. so come along and find out all about it. We will also be giving a brief update on the Inglenook Project.

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August 28, 2011


For many of us, our properties are our heartland. They are where we feel safe and grounded, at one with ourselves, our loved ones and nature. So it has been deeply disturbing to find our heartland now threatened by a foreign-owned coal mining company who views it as a resource to be plundered no matter what the cost to us or the environment.

Renowned environmentalist David Suzuki once said that the two most powerful words in the English language are "I'm Staying." These words are being shouted out loud and clear by passionate landowners all over the country in the face of greedy mining companies who, with state government backing, are advancing on our country at an alarming rate.

Don't despair. There are many people standing alongside us. We're at a pivotal point in our nation's history where landowners are resisting the invasion of destructive industries onto the lands. Join the resistance and 'Lock The Gate'.

August 27, 2011

Lithgow council says no to open cut consolidation - Lithgow Mercury

LITHGOW Council appears to be embarking on a new hard line policy against open cut mining in the local area with a unanimous vote at this week’s meeting against an extension of a mining operation at Cullen Bullen.But while the council has made its position very clear the final decision now rests with the NSW Government.

The company wants to consolidate the management and operations of the two mines under a single planning approval from the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

This is intended to continue coal mining operations for 21 years as well as the mining of a limited sand deposit.

And that's not all.

For the full story see Lithgow Mercury of 25 Aug, 2011.

August 23, 2011

An Open Letter to All My Friends

16 August 2011

I am sending this message to all my email contacts in the hope that you will read it and perhaps be inspired to help us and others affected by the current scramble by mining companies to extract fossil-fuels under farms, residential land, and areas of national heritage value throughout Australia. Even if you are not personally affected by mining, you no doubt eat food produced by Australian farmers, some of whom are potentially going to lose their farms and their water to coal and coal-seam gas mining. Precious farm land, underground water resources and sensitive natural ecosystems are being lost forever because of rampant mining and state greed.

You may already know that our farm, like so many other farms and rural communities across the country, is threatened by coal mining. Centennial Coal (a mining company owned by Thai company, Banpu) has an exploration licence (cosily named the ‘Inglenook’ project; see: over a large tract of land in our area, of which our farm forms a small part.

I can’t begin to tell you how devastated I feel about the prospect of coal mining in this area. The feeling of grief, loss and powerlessness is overwhelming. It not just grief about the potential loss and destruction of our farm, our neighbourhood, of the precious underground water we all rely on in this area; and horror at the potential pollution of air, water and land by future mining activities. It is a grief for future generations: for all the humans, animals and plants living on this land into the future. What kind of landscape will be left for them? A once beautiful, once productive land that has been poisoned and pillaged; vastly reduced or permanently polluted underground water; land that is scarred with the remains of open-cut mining activity; subsidence of land above underground mines; ruined ecosystems.

Just as a small example of the implications for us of Centennial’s exploration licence; over the last fortnight, as part of the company’s ongoing exploration work, a helicopter has flown in a linear pattern over our property at intervals of approximately 20 metres, and at a height just above the level of the tallest trees (by my approximation 30 to 40 metres). For two full days, and again just after 9 am last Sunday, the helicopter flew over our farm, crossing the area directly over our house perhaps a dozen times over this period in order to collect data for their proposed mining operation. You have to wonder whether this incredible invasion of privacy could happen over the homes of coal company executives… Remember too that this is only the exploration phase. If so little consideration is shown us in this phase, what will it be like if and when they begin to mine?

Whether you are personally affected by the resources boom – and I know that many people are, even in inner-city Sydney there is a proposed coal-seam gas mine – you now know of someone who is personally affected. But as I said before, my grief about this is not just for myself and my family, and our potential loss of a most beautiful natural environment and a farm and that has been our family home for five generations, it’s about a catastrophe on an enormous scale that is going to affect us all, our children, and the generations to follow us. And it does not, and will not, only affect humans. It will affect all life on this continent: humans, animals and plants.

What can you do? Well you could attend the next Lock the Gate Alliance rally: Stop Coal Seam Gas Drilling in Sydney! on Sunday 18 September 2011, 11:00 am at Camperdown Memorial Park, Corner Lennox & Eliza Sts, Newtown, Sydney.

If you can’t make it to that rally, you can check the Lock the Gate website for details of other events ( or visit the Running Stream Water Users Association blog to find out the latest news in my area (

You can write to your local politicians, join any other protests that take place (find out about them at the addresses given above), and lock your own gate against the multinationals if your land is being similarly affected by mining (an act endorsed by Tony Abbott!).

You could also make a submission to the National Food Plan by 2nd September. This is an important opportunity to get the message to the government that the rapid, unplanned expansion of mining is threatening our food producing areas and water resources:

It may feel like a David and Goliath fight: what can individuals do in the face of these powerful, cashed-up companies and governments that are only too willing to sell off our fossil fuels and our futures for the relatively small amounts of money and very limited employment opportunities for Australians that the resources companies are offering? But if there are many voices, many people willing to show that they care, I think we can stop mining in valuable farming, residential and other sensitive areas before it’s too late.

Fiona Sim (Member of Running Stream Water Users Association)

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August 22, 2011

Our food bowls should not be sacrificed to mining

Article by Timothy Duddy
National Times August 17, 2011

Australia is the driest continent on earth and as we push towards an ever increasing population we must be mindful of the fact the less than 9 per cent of our continent's surface is arable land: a far smaller portion of that is prime agricultural land, and an even smaller portion of that has underground water resources.

This limited area for producing food for the nation is under threat from coal seam gas mining and so far the pendulum has been firmly tilted towards the miners' interests. There is a way the two industries can co-exist, but it will require a moratorium on further mining exploration while a regional plan is formed.

I cannot overstate the importance to the country of our food producing areas. The Liverpool Plains in the north-west of NSW, where I am from, is an area of just 1.2 million hectares that produces about 37 per cent of the nation's cereal crops. After 185 years of working the land, locals now use some of the most advanced broad-acre farming practices in the world, while local irrigators led the state in water reform.

August 18, 2011


The Association was well represented at today's rally outside Sydney's Wentworth Hotel where delegates had paid $900 per head to attend the NSW Government mining conference. While inside the conference people were hearing from speakers like Centennial Coal's Beau Preston about progress on the Inglenook Project which covers the Running Stream area, outside the message was; 'Enough is Enough! Stop Coal and Gas expansion'.
A banner bearing this message was unfurled by members of the Newcastle based Rising Tide organisation who abseiled down the front of the Hotel unimpeded despite the large police presence.
The rally was addressed by NSW Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham, Bev Smiles from the Mudgee-based Mid West Alliance and President of the Lock The Gate Alliance, Drew Hutton.
Hutton told the gathering that the majority of Queenslanders questioned in a recent poll supported the notion that farmers should have the right to deny access to coal seam gas companies seeking to drill on  their lands. This will be tested in court next week when Hutton faces charges of obstructing access to lands targeted by a coal seam gas company. If he wins the case, it will have a big impact on legislation in that state which would then flow on to other states.
The tide is turning. Let's hope it's in time to save our water and our lands for future generations.

August 13, 2011

Saving the state

If you think we ought to save some of New South Wales for future generations — rather than hand it out now to coal and coal seam gas companies — you might like to join like-minded people next Thursday and tell the government and the industry just that.

Read more . . .

August 7, 2011

Coal seam gas industry under the microscope

THE environmental, social and economic impacts of coal seam gas mining and exploration in NSW will be examined by a wide-ranging parliamentary inquiry.

click here to read the full article from the Sydney Morning Herald 

August 2, 2011


Here is some more detailed information on what equipment is involved in drilling an exploration hole. See earlier blog posting for some photos.


Everyone was a little shocked at the size of the three large vehicles that pulled into the grounds of the RS Hall last Thursday: there were two 15m semi-trailers and one 8tonne truck. However we were assured the semi-trailers were used only for major road repositioning, and that when the equipment was brought on site it would be on a large trucks. In addition two items (the drill rig and the rod handler) are on tracks (like a bulldozer) and can be “walked in” for a few kilometres if site access is tricky.

So for an exploration bore hole expect 3 large trucks (about 8 tonnes) each with a large piece of equipment which also weighs about 8 tonnes so total weight of each truck will be around 16 tonnes, plus a number of other vehicles and a trailer mounted pump.

One truck has the drill rig which is approx 2.2m x 4.3m and about 2.7m high when transported, 10.3m high when rig is vertical and working. Another truck has the rod handler which is approx 2.2m x 5.3m. Another truck has the sump which is 2.2m x 5.3m. This needs to be brought all the way to the site on the truck.
A trailer (2x6m) with large pump Up to four light vehicles for workers/supervisors/visitors A one-off delivery of 4,500 litres of water Removal of solid waste – stored in a skip and removed from the landholding for proper disposal Core samples are removed from the landholding and placed in purpose-built core trays and transported by light truck to a Centennial Coal storage facility.

The Site needs to be about 25m square, i.e. 25m x 25 m. It will be fenced off with chain link, same as you usually see around building sites (or other fence type as agreed with the landholder). The site needs to be level. Obviously the company prefers to do minimal site preparation, so will chose the flattest possible site, within meeting the JORC requirements of spacing of holes.

The Drill Rig is probably the smallest available that has the necessary capacity for this job and is state of the art. It also has the lowest ground bearing pressure of similar rig. It can be brought to the site on a flat-bed truck, and walked in on its own tracks for some kilometres. It needs to be positioned on a flat site, so cut and fill may be necessary if your site is sloping.

The Rod Handler is about same size and weight as the drill rig. It also is on tracks and can be walked in for a few kilometres. The rods are stored on the rodhandler during drilling and transport.

The Sump must be level. It is a closed fluid system which recirculates the water used in the drilling. Amount of water used is 4.500 litres per hole. The waste water and cuttings are pumped through a number of filters (the last is very fine) which take out all the particulates, up to 20 microns and the cleaned water is returned to the drill. The solid matter goes via a chute into a mini- skip (sort of size you might get in your yard). Skip will need to be emptied 2-3 times per hole. This of course depends on depth of the hole which will vary from a maximum of 270m to about 80m for the shortest.

Water: where possible this will be sourced on each property (subject to landholder agreement) after being analysed to ensure it is of adequate quality. This drill rig uses about half the amount of water of similar rigs. All engines are diesel and meet the highest emission standards (these are the European standards).

The drilling process The drill uses water when drilling unless it hits certain kind of ground conditions where it will be necessary to stabilise the ground. In this case a liquid polymer will be used. This chemical will viscosify the water i.e. makes the water thicker so that it doesn’t “melt the dirt” as the drilling progresses. The Material Safety Data (MSD) sheets for the chemicals use in the polymer will be made available. The chemicals are supposed to be fully biodegradable.

Occasionally it may be necessary to use a bit lubricant which is based on canola oil.

The drillers are specialist operators. The rig manager has over 20 years of experience in all parts of the world (but he will be managing, not actually operating the drill). It is a very high tech drill that can be remotely operated. It has a number of gauges which record what is happening and at what depth. An experienced driller can tell what is happening by listening to the flow of water being used in drilling and watching the speed at which the drill rotates. Theoretically then, we should be able to get a log of any water bearing layers encountered, showing the width of the layer and at what depth it occurs.

If the drill hits a water bearing layer they will stop and case the hole, then continue with a reduced bit size. If they hit too many water bearing layers (i.e. the bit size can only be reduced a certain number of times) they will stop, fill the hole, then start again in another place, starting out with a larger bit size so there are more opportunities to reduce the size.

They are obliged to have w licensed water driller if the hole is going to be kept open as a water monitoring bore. The siting of the drill hole and the drilling method has been developed with the assistance of a hydrogeologist. The basis for this is the recently completed water census. The consulting hydrogeologists are on call throughout the drilling program. Input of the hydrogeologists will be sought prior to, during and post each drill hole. The drillers and on-site geologists are trained and experienced in attending to any water issues during drilling and will always consult with the hydrogeologist.

Each site has to be inspected before drilling commences to be evaluated for archaeological, aboriginal and ecological factors. This may result in special requirements being put on the site. Each site will also be fully rehabilitated.

REF (Review of Environmental Factors) for the whole exploration process is being prepared for submission to the Dept for approval any day now.

Centennial indicated they may have another open day when the drill is actually set up on a site. There will be a second rig coming on line in about March or April next year. The first 26-28 holes cover stage 1 and 2, then Centennial decides on stages 3,4 and 5.
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