Wambo extension heads to PAC meeting

THE fate of the Wambo coal mine will come under the spotlight in Singleton on Thursday as the Planning Assessment Commission meets to weigh up whether to extend the underground pit’s life. 

The public meeting on Peabody Energy mine begins at 9.30am in the Singleton Civic Centre auditorium. 

If successful, the mine will last another seven years to 2039 through the addition of nine longwall panels. 

Hunter regional Lock the Gate Alliance coordinator Steve Phillips said opponents were calling for more scientific assessment after the EPA, Department of Primary Industries and others raised concerns. 

“But the Planning Department has ignored all that and written a draft approval for the project, and forwarded it on to the PAC for sign-off,” he said. 

“In my address to the PAC today, I will call on them to send this project back to the Planning Department and insist that a proper environmental assessment is done before a decision is made.”

Farmers Ron and Janet Fenwick, whose property adjoins the mine, will also speak at the meeting in opposition to Peabody’s proposal. 

“Their underground mine has already had severe impacts on waterways and farmland, and no further damage ought to be permitted,” she said.

In August the Newcastle Herald reported the Indepedent Expert Scientific Committee issued a scathing assessment of water quality monitoring at the existing mine, saying surface water quality monitoring was “inadequate for identifying potential mining impacts”.