April 30, 2012


Just a reminder about the important rally in Sydney tomorrow being organised by the NSW Farmers Association (http://www.nswfarmers.org.au/ourlandourwater). The RSWUA will be there from 11.30 am so please join us and look for our banner on corner of Elizabeth and Martin Place.

The rally has been organised in response to the severely inadequate draft Land Use Plan that has been released by the O'Farrell Government in New South Wales.

Submissions to the Plan are due by Weds 3rd. We urge all members and supporters to make a submission. Below is info from Lock the Gate which you can use, or use the template we sent you last Monday. Remember to add a sentence about our rich basalt soils and permanent water that need to be protected for future generations. Every little bit helps!

The NSW Government has released its draft plans to deliver on its Strategic Regional Land Use Policy. This policy was an election promise during the 2011 State election.

At the heart of the election policy was this statement: “The NSW Liberals and Nationals believe that agricultural land and other sensitive areas exist in NSW where mining and coal seam gas extraction should not occur” 

This had led many to believe, a belief never corrected by the Government, that areas would be ruled out for mining and coal seam gas development in NSW. Sadly, this promise has not been kept.

The Lock the Gate Alliance rejects the idea that the Government can protect our most important food producing and sensitive environments and the water sources that supply them without ruling out mining and coal seam gas exploration and production in these areas. These land use plans will fail to create a sustainable future for farmers and the environment.

There is an urgent need for the community to reject any land use plans that don’t rule out future coal, gas and other mining in these important areas. You can help by making a submission against the plans. Making your own submission doesn't need to take long. Even a signle statement of objection is enough to force the Government to respond to your concerns. This template submission can be used to help you make your own (the best option) or can be signed directly and posted in (option 2). Or you might like to use some of these points of objection:
  1. moratorium should be put in place on any new coal and gas exploration and development whilst the Strategic Regional Land Use Plans are fixed and then applied in other areas, and while outstanding scientific questions are assessed.
  2. A clear prohibition of all exploration, mining and petroleum production on productive agricultural land. A 'Gateway' process in these areas is not supported
  3. The definition of strategic agricultural land must be broadened to capture allproductive agricultural land, not just the best of the best.
  4. All mining and petroleum projects should have to undergo a full cost benefit analysis and social impact assessment prior to any approvals. 
  5. A process should be introduced to enable local communities and landholders to be able to say no to mining and petroleum exploration or production.
Submissions close on 3 May. Send or email your submission to:
Director, Strategic Regional Policy NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure
GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW 2001
Email to: srlup@planning.nsw.gov.au

Every submission counts so even a short email now can make a huge difference in the future.

April 19, 2012


It's scary to think that chemicals may find their way into our pristine water system but here is some information on those likely to be used in the drilling that is taking place on Mt 
Vincent. These details are not given in the minutes of the Inglenook CCC meeting (see previous post).  However we note that already there are five new chemicals being used, that were not discussed at the CCC meeting.


At the previous CCC meeting there had been a request to see the MSD (Material Safety Data) sheets for the chemicals used in the drilling mud. In response we were given a presentation by Jesse Percival (new geologist on Inglenook Project) and were told the MSD sheets are available on the Australian Mud Company Website at http://www.amcmud.com/msds.html and http://www.amcmud.com/asia-pacific-product-data-sheets.html 

The main points of the presentation are below, with my comments/afterthoughts in italics
  • Additives are put into the water to increase its viscosity (ie thickness). This allows it to “support” the hole so that the sides don’t collapse, and makes it easier to bring up the discarded material produced by the drilling. 
  • The mix of additives will vary according to what kind of strata they are encountering and what stage of the drilling they are at: ie just boring down or actually taking a core sample.
  • There was a lot of consultation with Australian Mud Co to get the best additives, in particular trying to use naturally occurring substances and at a high dilution rate ie very low amount, generally less that 1%. However if it is a high volume of drilling mud used, it may still be a significant amount of the additive that is on site, and may enter the environment. We asked several times for an indication of the kind of volume/amount of additive that might be use, but were not given a figure, not even an indicative range. 
  • The MSD sheets will be made available to the landholder when drilling takes place. 
  • We were told the MSD sheets show dilution rates and give information on proper handling. I have checked the sheets and they do not seem to give the dilution rates on the MSD sheet, so you have to go to the second website which is a product guide. 

Below is the list of additives we were given, with some of the dilution rates. Many of these are used in food products. There may be changes to this list, for example if a better product becomes available. Forgot to ask what the mechanism would be for notification of any changes/additions to this list.
AMC-PAC-R  at 0.02%
CR-650 at 0.05%
Aus Gel
XAN BORE at 0.2%
Soda Ash at 0.025%
EP Bit Lube at 0.8-1%
WELL CLEAN at 0.5%

Pool grade Chlorine
BIOCIDE at 0.5%

AMC-PAC-R: Produced from cellulose, the most abundant polymer in nature and a major component in wood and cotton; •Increases water viscosity; •Reduces water loss; •Dilution rate is typically 0.2% 
BIO VIS Xtra: Produced from Guargum, a naturally occurring material and commonly used as a filler in food and weight loss products; •Increases water viscosity; •Dilution rate is 0.2%
EP Bit Lube at 0.8-1%: A blend of biodegradable vegetable oils and emulsifiers; •Improved penetration rates and extends life of the diamond drill bit; •Contains preservatives to extend shelf life. Similar preservatives are used in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic applications; •Dilution is typically 0.8-1%
Pool grade Chlorine: Used to clean up the drill hole and removes wall cake that has formed; 
•Used in a variety of applications including swimming pool disinfection and potable water treatment; •Used in correct concentrations it does not pose an environmental hazard.
CR-650: •Improves core recovery and provides lubrication; •Contains anionic polyacrylamide which is widely used within the agricultural industry as a soil stabiliser; 
•Dilution is 0.05%
XAN BORE: Maximises cuttings transport and hole cleaning; •Contains Xanthan Gum which is derived from a natural substance;•Xanthan Gum is typically found in a variety of common food including commercial salad dressings and ice cream; •Dilution rate is 0.2%
WELL CLEAN: Assists in the clean up of the drill hole; •Also widely used in the food industry; •Dilution rate is typically 0.5%
BIOCIDE: Used for the prevention of bacteria build up in drilling fluids; •Dilution rate is typically 0.5%
Aus Gel: This product is used for hole cleaning, specific applications where permeable sections or poorly consolidated caving formations can be troublesome; •Contains bentonite clay which is a naturally occurring mineral and poses no harm to the environment; •Bentonite has a diverse range of applications including cosmetics, toothpaste, beer and wine.
Soda Ash: Sodium Carbonate; •Used to adjust pH to increase effectiveness of muds; •Used in potable water treatment and used in cleaning products; •Dilution is 0.025%

We were assured that the drilling additives used are generally no different to those used in drilling for water bores for stock and domestic use; that drilling additives are selected according to the drilling conditions, and generally only used when poorly consolidated formations are encountered; and that all waste will be removed from site and appropriately disposed of by a licensed contractor.

Note: At the first drilling site last week, five chemicals different to those given at the CCC presentation were seen. These chemicals  are AMC Universal, Aus plug, Aus-cet Xtra, Water Conditioner, and Gypset 15. 


The Inglenook Community Consultative Committee met last month to discuss developments with Centennial Coal's exploration of the Running Stream/Mt. Vincent area.

Below are the draft minutes. We note that already there are five new chemicals being used that were not discussed at the meeting. This raises questions about the credibility of Centennial's community consultation process.

 Draft Minutes of Inglenook Exploration Project Community Consultative Committee Meeting 
Date and time: Thursday 22/03/2012, 10:00am 
Location: Charbon Green Meeting Room, Charbon Coal Mine Present 
Margaret MacDonald-Hill (MMH) 
Julie Moloney (JM) 
Sarah Jardine (SJ) 
Cr John Webb (JW) 
Esme Martens (EM) 
Jolieske Lips (JL) Neva Lilley (NL) Beau Preston (BP) John Sandona (JS) 
Jesse Percival (JP) 
Thomas Dubos (TD) 
John Brunton (JB) 
Office of Resources & Energy, Mineral Resources 
Office of Resources & Energy, Mineral Resources 
Midwestern Regional Council (MWRC) 
Inglenook Community Representative 
Running Stream Water Users Association &Inglenook Community Representative 
Inglenook Community Representative 
Centennial Coal 
Centennial Coal 
Centennial Coal 
Centennial Coal 
Centennial Coal 
Cr Ray Thomson (RT) 
Mitchell Clapham (MC) 
Lithgow City Council 
Inglenook Community Representative 
Welcome and Introduction 
The Chair welcomed all attendees to the fifthInglenook CCC meeting and introduced Jesse Percival, Environment and Community Coordinator-Projects and Thomas Dubos, Project Geologist, Inglenook Project, from Centennial Coal and Sarah Jardine from Office of Resources & Energy. 
Declarations of Interest 
MMH noted her position as Independent Chair appointed by the Minister for Energy & Resources. She is also a Member of the Mine Subsidence Board & Ministers’ Arbitration Panel. 
JL as owner of mineral rights in relation to the Inglenook EL 
NL’s family as owners of mineral rights in relation to the Inglenook EL. 
Confirmation of previous minutes 
The minutes were confirmed as a true record by NL and seconded by JM. 
Business arising 
The Chair noted the last presentation was sent with the previous meeting minutes. 
The Chair informed the committee that Roff O’Shea is the Department of Premier & Cabinet's Regional Coordinator for the area which includes the Inglenook Project Area in response to an enquiry made about the role by MC at the third CCC meeting. 
BP confirmed that all meeting minutes and presentations will be placed on the Centennial Coal website by a date to be confirmed as the website is currently being redesigned. 
Presentation by Jesse Percival 
JP provided a presentation on drilling additives which could be used on the Inglenook Project.. The Chair requested a copy of the presentation for CCC members. A discussion was held by Committee members on drilling additives and their possible effects at Inglenook, including the 
concentration rate of chlorine to be used. Centennial Coal will provide the concentration rate. 
General Business 
A description of the Drill Rig to be used at Inglenook. 
JS advised it is a similar rig to the one used by Interdrill. An above ground sump system is to be installed instead of the Pit Bull installation for water recirculation employed by Interdrill. 
JL asked about the possibility of an open day to come and see the new rig working. 
Centennial Inglenook envisages an open day would occur sometime in May with a date to be confirmed. 

Australian Mining - the real story

Another hilarious video to counter all those ridiculous mining ads they're bombarding us with on TV.


April 18, 2012

Locals Concerned as Drilling Commences on Mountain

Exploratory drilling has now begun on Mount Vincent and fears are that damage will be done to our irreplaceable aquifer.

One extremely concerned local and RSWUA member, affected by the constant noise which begins at 7.30am and continues all day, 6 days a week, went to check out the ‘Macquarie Drilling’ for CC drill rig.                                         

The gate to the drill site was open and she was able to walk right in and take some photos. One of the drill team came over, was friendly and tried to answer some of her questions, telling her the chemicals that she saw on site were all biodegradable ‘muds’. 

Having viewed the photographs we are concerned that the quantity and type of chemicals being used in the drilling process may pollute the aquifer waters, especially since some are different to those on the list presented to the Community Consultation Committee just two weeks earlier (see list below). The Committee has written to Centennial Coal asking them to explain why they did not inform the CCC about the additional chemicals. We are also investigating the various chemicals to check for possible health implications as many locals drink the water directly from the springs on the mountain and have never experienced any problems.

Since the visit, proper OH&S controls have been put in place on the drill site with a lock on the gate and ‘NO ENTRY’ signs up around the fence.

But there is a bigger issue being raised by the current drilling on the mountain and that is of compensation. While there is some compensation for those who have a drill hole on their property, there is no compensation for neighbours, whose normally quiet lifestyles are affected by the constant noise levels which will continue for months.  Furthermore,  how could Centennial ever compensate for the possible loss and pollution of water of our pristine spring water?

List of drilling muds presented to the CCC on 22 March 2012
•EP Bit Lube
•Pool-grade Chlorine
•Soda Ash
•XAN Bore
•Well Clean

Other chemicals noted on the drill site
AMC Universal
Aus-cet Xtra
Water Conditioner
Aus plug
Gypset 15

April 11, 2012

Australian Farmers' Responses to Coal Seam Gas Extraction Operations

The School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Science in Armidale is conducting a survey on responses by farmers to the coal seam gas industry. While CSG isn't a present threat in our area, many of us are well informed about the issue and may wish to participate in the survey nontheless. We certainly know many farmers in the surrounding region who are being affected by it such as our friends in Bylong and Merriwa.

So if you're interested in contributing your thoughts on the matter, click here to read more about the survey:


April 2, 2012

Ilford Legends Go the Distance

Sheila Carroll and Digger Den from Ilford braved the 1.2 kms march from Parklands Resort to Lawson Park last week in support of a halt to any more mines in the region. Bringing up the rear with Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham, the couple expressed concern about the mining activities proposed for Ilford by the Thai owned company Centennial Coal.

Owners of the iconic 1868 Ilford House, the pair face an uncertain future if the Inglenook Project goes ahead. With exploration drilling already taking place on nearby Mt. Vincent, they felt compelled to join the one hundred or so other landowners demonstrating their opposition to plans being laid down for Central NSW by miners at the $3,200 per head conference at the Resort.

"I was initially skeptical about going to the rally. Was this going to do any good?" said Sheila, 88; " But yes, it really was worthwhile. I think it made a difference."

Plans are now afoot for the seven combined organising action groups to make their presence felt at the NSW Farmers Association rally outside Parliament House, Sydney on May 1. Buses will be organised so if you'd like to join in and show your opposition to the continuing destruction of our agricultural lands and water resources, please drop us a line. The campaign is called 'Our Land, Our Water' and you can find out more about it here: