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Planning Department should reject Angus Place West mining proposal

Centennial Coal’s Angus Place West colliery proposal should be rejected in light of the alarming forecasts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last week. [1] 

Centennial Coal this week outlined plans to reopen the mouthballed Angus Place Colliery and extract up to 8.5 millions tonnes of coal. 

When that coal is burnt it will add more than 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. 

“The IPCC report made it very clear that we cannot afford to open any new coal mines, not matter how big they are,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said.  

“Climate change is real, it is being caused by burning coal and gas, and it is coming to every town in Australia.  

“The people of Lithgow have been at the frontline of climate change impacts when flames from the Gospers Mountain almost burned into town. 

“Lithgow’s experience during the Black Summer bushfires was just a taste of what’s to come if we don’t act urgently to cut emissions. 

"Opening a new mine in Lithgow is like a heart attack patient going straight from hospital to McDonalds and ordering a Big Mac, large fries and family-sized Coke.”  

Mr Gambian said Centennial had issued conflicting messages about the scale of its proposed Angus Place West Project. 

On July 28, Centennial wrote to the Planning Department and flagging plans to extract up to 1.5 million tonnes a year through the Angus Place West project[2] 

But on Tuesday, August 17, just 20 days after the July letter, Centennial submitted its Angus Place West Scoping Report to the Planning Department outlining plans to extract up to 2 million tonnes a year. [3] 

“The people need Centennial to come straight about its intentions,” Mr  Gambian said. 

“Centennial has a track record of providing dodgy numbers to planning authorities when seeking approvals.  

“Last year we revealed Centennial  under-estimated by up to 97% the carbon emissions associated with its mines for up to 10 years, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.” [4] 

The Nature Conservation Council has written to Centennial Coal requesting a meeting to clarify the company’s intentions. 

References 

[1] What does the IPCC’s report mean for Australia, and what can we expect in the future?, The Guardian Australia, 9-8-21  

[2] Letter from Centennial Coal Angus Place Group Manager Approvals & Environment James Wearne to Department of Planning, Industry & Environment Director of Resource Assessments Stephen O’Donoghue, dated 28 July, 2021. “Angus Place West (APW) will produce up to 1.5 Mtpa, over eight years and will be supported by a workforce of up to 200 employees.” 

[3] Angus Place West Scoping Report, August 2021, Planning Department website. "an extraction rate of up to 2 Mtpa.” [See Executive Summary] 

[4] 'We stuffed up': Coal miner admits to submitting wrong emissions data, SMH, 10 May 2020. See also NCC media release on the same issue which found the company that supplies a third of the coal burned in NSW has under-estimated by up to 97% the carbon emissions associated with its mines.  

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