A KOREAN power company is under investigation after a NSW government department was given false photographs to back a Bylong coal-mine drilling application.
NSW Trade and Investment has ordered Kepco to suspend operations on its Bylong exploration lease after the company supplied photos of flat paddocks to support a drilling application on Craig Shaw's property, Oakdale.
Mr Shaw complained to the department after producing photographs of the actual sites showing steep, rocky terrain that Kepco had already conceded might require helicopter access for drilling to proceed.
Two Trade and Investment compliance officers inspected the sites on Wednesday.
Drilling sites are identified by global positioning systems.
Mr Shaw, who spent more than $100,000 after compulsory arbitration of Kepco's application to explore for coal on his property, said he was gobsmacked when the company provided photographs of another property to support its most recent application to the department.
The photos were provided to Mr Shaw after he secured the right to see all documents before department approvals.
"Blind Freddy can see the locations are nothing alike," Mr Shaw said.
"It raises the question of how easily and how often government departments get the wool pulled over their eyes and how well resourced they are as far as checking and auditing goes. Is there any independent verification or ground-truthing of what's submitted?"
Kepco is believed to be close to submitting its environmental impact statement for the proposed Bylong mine to the Department of Planning for adequacy checking.
"We've made it clear time and time again that we weren't trying to 'lock the gate', but we wanted to make absolutely sure everything was done properly: that every 'i' was dotted and every 't' crossed," Mr Shaw said.
"It seems miners aren't really up to doing what they're supposed to."
A Trade and Investment spokesman confirmed the investigation. A Kepco spokesman said the company was "fully co-operating" with investigators.