Gloucester mine faces 'peaceful direct action' if approved

Protest: Julie Lyford
Protest: Julie Lyford

GLOUCESTER residents will tell the Department of Planning on Wednesday to expect “huge disruption and direct action” from the community if a controversial open cut coal mine close to the town is approved by the NSW Government.

Groundswell Gloucester president Julie Lyford and other group members will tell department representatives that some Gloucester residents are “ready to use peaceful direct action to fight this flawed proposal so it never sees the light of day”.

Gloucester Resources Ltd (GRL) plans to mine 21 million tonnes of coking coal over 16 years at its proposed Rocky Hill mine 3.5 kilometres south of Gloucester. In documents lodged with the department the company said it would generate up to 100 jobs and provide $144 million in royalties to the NSW Government.

It is the second time the company has moved to establish the mine after an unsuccessful earlier attempt in 2008. Ms Lyford said residents were “angry, exhausted and distressed” that the mine was once again being assessed for approval.

“This proposal, to build a dirty 220 metre deep coal mine within about 1 kilometre of family homes and within just a few kilometres of schools and hospitals should be rejected,” she said.

“It poses a great threat to the Gloucester tourist industry which depends on Gloucester’s clean, green image.”

The group criticised Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen for not supporting residents in their fight against the proposal. In an email to the Newcastle Herald Mr Johnsen said he would not be “offering a running commentary” on the mine, but he had “ascertained” it did not breach noise and air quality standards.