Rocky Hill coal mine hits MidCoast Council bump | poll

BATTLEGROUND: Groundswell Gloucester chair Julie Lyford, pictured at an anti-fracking protest in 2014, has welcomed MidCoast Council's opposition to the Rocky Hill coal mine proposal outside Gloucester. Picture: Dean Osland

BATTLEGROUND: Groundswell Gloucester chair Julie Lyford, pictured at an anti-fracking protest in 2014, has welcomed MidCoast Council's opposition to the Rocky Hill coal mine proposal outside Gloucester. Picture: Dean Osland

CAMPAIGNERS against the proposed Rocky Hill Coal Project outside of Gloucester have applauded MidCoast Council for opposing the mine.

The council, which governs Gloucester and is currently headed by administrator John Turner, tabled a submission on Wednesday calling for 50 changes to the mine’s conditions and rejecting it on various grounds, including that it would be too close to residents.

“In rural NSW, new coal mines are mainly located in areas out of towns and villages where there are large agricultural holdings and the zone of affectation is up to two kilometres,” Mr Turner said. 

“In the case of the Rocky Hill mine proposal, there are substantial residential areas within 900 metres in one direction and in another direction within 1.8km, with the town of Gloucester 5km away.”

In comments well received by those watching the extraordinary council meeting in Gloucester, Mr Turner told of how he himself grew up near a mine and remembered the sound of drilling.

“I know what proximity means,” he said.

Julie Lyford, the leader of opposition group Gloucester Groundswell, said the council’s stance was “an excellent outcome”.

“We are delighted to realise that MidCoast Council opposes the Rocky Hill coal mine, and quite delighted with John Turner’s comments acknowledging this mine is so close to residents,” Ms Lyford said.

“People will be in no doubt that this mine is unpalatable to the community, and now a large administrative council, for a lot of reasons.”

Ms Lyford said she would meet this week with state Environment Minister Mark Speakman and with Planning Minister Rob Stokes to present her group’s concerns about Rocky Hill.

Comment has been sought from Gloucester Resources Limited, the company behind the mine.

The state’s peak mining body, the NSW Minerals Council, told the Newcastle Herald there was support for the mine in Gloucester.

“I recently visited Gloucester to see the proposed mine site and met with many local people who wanted to see the project proceed for the jobs it will bring to their town,” NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee said.

“I hope that their views will be taken into account.”

The NSW Planning Department brought the long-discussed Rocky Hill Coal Project back into contention in August when it released a new environmental impact statement for the mine.

In February, AGL abandoned plans for a coal seam gas project near Gloucester following a vocal campaign by Groundswell Gloucester and other groups.

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