February 28, 2012

Groups unite for “people’s conference” on Mudgee mining

 A coalition of community and environmental groups from across the Central West have united to stage a ‘people’s conference’ as an alternative to the privately run ‘Mudgee Mining’ conference at Parklands Resort in March. To be held in Lawson Park in the afternoon of Tuesday, 20th March, the free conference has already confirmed a number of high profile speakers, including author and journalist Paul Cleary, the CEO of the NSW Nature Conservation Council, Pepe Clarke, and Mid-Western Regional Council General Manager, Warwick Bennett. Spokesman for the combined groups, Craig Shaw, from the Bylong Valley Protection Alliance (BVPA), said the event was a chance for people from across the region to hear about a range of issues related to mining and to understand the implications for Mudgee’s future. ‘With the expansion of current mines and multiple new mines in various stages of planning across the region, people should make no mistake: unless we all act together to shape this development ourselves the Mudgee we know and love is a goner.’ Mr Shaw points to the large range of groups involved as a sign of how significant and widespread the issues have become. The other groups represented include the Mid-Western Community Action Network, the Lue Action Group, Merriwa Healthy Environment Group, Rylstone District Environment Society, Running Stream Water Users Association and the Mudgee District Environment Group. ‘There is so much at stake here – from the impact on ratepayers to the health of our tourism and winegrowing industries, from further strain on services and infrastructure to the demise of small villages and all the things that go with them, like local bush fire brigades, schools and churches. ‘Add to that the issues surrounding water, loss of prime agricultural land and the uncertainty facing key tourist drawcards like ‘the Drip’ and you start to see the enormity of it all. ‘It’s this bigger picture that people have to be worried about – which is why we’ve called our event “Mudgee Mining – the wHole Story”.’ Mr Shaw is at pains to emphasise that, while delegates to the private conference will be paying $3294.50 for the two day program, the ‘people’s conference’ will be free. ‘We feel it’s important for everyone to have a chance to hear about the issues involved. I mean, how many people have a lazy three grand to spend on going to a conference like this? ‘And even then, it’s basically about how they can make the most money from tearing down what our communities have spent generations building up. It’s like a private mining millionaire’s party, where the fun comes from figuring out how to do us over.’ As well as the ‘people’s conference’, other events on the day will include a rally and march, starting opposite Parklands at 11am, and a dinner that evening with author and environmental campaigner Sharyn Munro. A guided bus tour of affected areas is also being arranged for Wednesday, 21st March. Further details can be found online at www.mudgeeminingthewholestory.org.au.

February 16, 2012

Mining Mudgee – the wHole Story

The mining industry has big plans for the mid west, plans that threaten our food and water security. But there is another way forward. Come and hear speakers such as Tim Duddy and Paul Cleary at ‘Mining Mudgee – the wHole Story’.

While mining industry representatives gather nearby at a $2,800-per head conference, a coalition of seven local community action groups will present this alternative conference to the people of the mid west ... FREE.

Mining Mudgee – the wHole Story
Lawson Park, Mudgee
Tuesday 20 March
Public rally & march in the morning followed by an afternoon conference.

Keep the date free and we'll keep you posted on details.

February 14, 2012

Beware the Age Old Formula of Divide and Conquer

Justin McKee from the Blue Mountains Conservation Society recently spoke to a meeting of Cullen Bullen residents concerned about the destruction of their town by Coalpac. He outlined the underhand tactics used by companies to eventually get their way and revealed the measly pay offs that Coalpac has made to protect their $420 million operation. Read more about it here:


February 13, 2012

Coalpac's Shame Job

In another letter to the editor of the Lithgow Mercury today, our Vice Prez has blasted Coalpac's operations at Cullen Bullen, in particular, their pathetic attempt at biological offsetting. Anyone who drives past what once was a mountain and the ridiculous sign nearby by proclaiming the offset area will know that this is an insult to any thinking person.

Read what Guy has to say about it here:


Cullen residents out in force to oppose mine

11 Feb, 2012 04:00 AM
OVER 200 people have signed a petition objecting to the Coalpac Consolidation Project proposed by Coalpac Pty Ltd at Cullen Bullen.The newly formed Cullen Bullen Committee, established to take action against the project, collected the signatures from local residents before a meeting late last week.
The project, if it proceeds, will see the expansion of mining operations at the Cullen Valley and Invincible coal mines and establishment of a new quarry and associated infrastructure.
The information forum focused on the dangers the project could have on the Cullen Bullen community. 
The petition is a way for residents to formally object to the project.
Members of the committee say the residents are objecting to several points about the project.
For full details and a list of concerns from residents pick up a Lithgow Mercury.

February 6, 2012

Rehabilitating a mine site for the environment

ABC Radio National's Bush Telegraph ran an interesting story this morning about the difficulties of rehabilitating mine sites.
A study of the rehabilitation of bauxite mine sites near Weipa on Cape York shows 'habitat conversion' rather than 'habitat restoration'.
According to a paper by Susan Gould at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the ANU, fast growing acacias now dominate an area which was once a eucalypt forest reducing the amount of birds returning to the area.
Mining companies are required to pay a bond prior to mining to ensure companies do not walk away from their environmental responsibilities.


Hi cost of Informa

Monday, 30 January 2012
Posted By Guy Sim

Guy Sim
Vice President Running Stream Water Users Association
16 January 2012
The Editor
Mudgee Guardian

Dear Sir/Madam
I am writing to you to express our concern at the Informa Mining Conference slated to be held at the Parklands Resort in Mudgee on the 20th and 21st of March this year.
We are concerned that the highly segmented target audience will not be reflective of the true concerns of the local population. This includes those people and their families dependent on the agricultural, winemaking and tourism industries. The conference will not allay concerns of the ordinary townspeople of Mudgee who cherish the rural atmosphere found around Mudgee and in only a handful of towns and communities across the globe. Mudgee, today, is a unique experience for most Australians.
The list of speakers can only present a distorted view of the benefits of mining. The statement in the press article:
"Mudgee is an area Informa have been watching with interest for some time, Mr Ewan said. With four active mines in the region, plus many prospective mines, the interest in the Mudgee region is high"
should cause extreme concern for the majority of people within our community.
It would be welcomed by our group if The Hon. Steve Whan MLC, Shadow Minister for Resources and Primary Industries could forward a copy of the speech that he is to deliver at the conference. His session is titled:
"Encouraging mining investment and exploration in Central Western NSW."
The former Minister for planning, Tony Kelly, could possibly provide far greater insight into "encouragement" techniques and the benefits of the now defunct Part 3a of the Planning Act.

I am continually annoyed that the benefits derived from mining and touted by the industry leaders are purely of financial gains. Given the non-sustainability of mining, this is the epitome of short-sighted greed, regardless of how it is marketed. The slogan "Coal for a decade or water for life" is totally apt.
We at Running Stream are concerned about the degradation that proposed mining in our area will cause to our pristine groundwater, streams and air and to the fabric of our families as well.
It is a pity that the $2850 entrance fee is not affordable to individuals. I invite Informa to sponsor up to five delegates from the various local action groups within the area who are opposed to the aggressive and seemingly uncontrolled expansion of mining, and especially fossil fuel mining, within the local areas.
Yours sincerely

Guy Sim


February 1, 2012

Link between coal mining and water loss

Last night, ABCTV's 7.30 Report broadcast this informative story on the links between coal mining and the loss of water in Thirlmere Lakes National Park. Bottom line: loss of surface and groundwater due to the excessive activities of one voracious industry is "unacceptable" to the interests of other land users.