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Scrapping Angus Place Mine Extension Project is a win for nature, climate and the community

Centennial Coal’s decision to scrap plans to re-open and expand the mothballed Angus Place colliery near Lithgow is a win for nature, climate action and the community. [1] 

The company has notified the NSW Department of Planning it will not proceed the Angus Place Mine Extension Project (APMEP) and instead seek approval for a smaller Angus Place West (APW) project nearby. [2]  

APW is less than one tenth the scale of APMEP, which would have extracted 4.5 Mt/yr of coal over 30 years compared with APW’s 5Mt/yr over eight years. In total, APW would extract 12Mt compared with 135Mt for APMEP, a reduction of 123Mt or 92%.  

Centennial’s decision will save hundreds of hectares of endangered and nationally significant wetlands that would have been undermined, drained and killed by the longwall mining. 

“This is a great victory for nature, the climate and community campaigning over many years to protect the Garden of Stone from further damage by coal mining,” Nature Conservation Council Chief Executive Chris Gambian said. 

“By the company’s own admission, the Angus Place extension would have destroyed 350 hectares of nationally endangered wetlands. 

“The mine has already caused extensive ecological damage by draining and killing several wetlands of national significance. It is a relief that this threat to these unique ecosystems will now be safe.” 

The company’s decision is indicative of a general decline in coal use locally and globally. Last year coal and gas generation in NSW fell 9% as it is replaced by new solar and wind generators. [3] 

Financial analysts have forecast Mount Piper power station will become unprofitable by 2025 as it struggles to compete with abundant, cheap, clean renewables. [4] 

“The change in our energy mix is undeniable, and now is the time to ensure a bright future for Lithgow by supporting the region to diversify its economy,” Mr Gambian said. 

“With the right support, Lithgow has the potential to be a top-class tourism destination.  

“Lithgow’s growing tourism industry and conservationists has been pushing for years to have the area’s forests and stunning pagoda rock formations protected in a new Gardens of Stone reserve. [5] 

“We are calling on the NSW Government to invest in the proposed Gardens of Stone Reserve to showcase the area’s stunning landscapes and capitalise on tourism opportunities.” 


[1] ‘Victory for nature’: Coal miner cuts plan in Blue Mountains, SMH, 2-8-21  

[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. 

[3] Australian Government, Australian Energy Statistics, Table O Electricity generation by fuel type 2019-20 and 2020. 

[4] Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Fast Erosion of Coal Plant Profits in the National Electricity Market, February 2021. 

[5] See The Gardens of Stone website and ‘The New Katoomba’: MPs join push for protection of ‘lost city’, SMH, April 30, 2021. 

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