The New South Wales Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will immediately review the license for Australia’s oldest continuously operating underground coal mine after a spill was discovered in a national park waterway.
- NSW EPA considers suspending environmental license for Metropolitan coal mines after repeated pollution of waterways
- EPA officials identified another suspected violation Thursday
- Operator Peabody Energy has been ordered to clean up emissions after previous incidents in July and September.
Peabody Energy ordered to purify polluted water After the July and September incidents, it flows from the Metropolitan Colliery in Helensburgh into Camp Gully Creek.
The creek empties into the Hacking River, one of the NSW Royal National Park’s major waterways.
An EPA official conducting a routine inspection of the creek on Thursday observed “gray, murky water with possible coal material.”
In response, the NSW EPA will move up the review of mining environmental licenses by two years and will consider suspending miners’ licenses.
NSW EPA Chief Executive Tony Chappell said:
“It is unfortunate that multiple incidents have occurred in the space of several months.”
“We expect much better from our industry neighbors who are responsible for operating according to licenses for the environment and community health.”
EPA said the purpose of the review is to improve water and emissions management at mines.
In July, a sedimentation dam pipe clogged, causing water containing coal deposits to overflow and flow into Camp Gully Creek.
“It just keeps happening”
The Sutherland Shire Environmental Center (SSEC) monitors pollution from the mine and found evidence of coal sludge at Audley Weir, 10 kilometers downstream.
SSEC spokesperson Dr. Catherine Reynolds said the mine indicated the area was not suitable for operations.
“We had multiple incidents this year. Despite multiple warnings, multiple warnings, multiple warnings, things remained the same,” Dr. Reynolds said.
“The mine has shown that it cannot operate at this location without causing unacceptable pollution effects.”
We reached out to Peabody Energy for comment.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-18/epa-threatens-to-suspend-peabody-energy-licence-after-pollution/101670658 EPA notifies Metropolitan Colliers of repeated spills of pollutants into Royal National Parks.