Gelliondale Coal Mine Proposal - Why it shouldn't happen?
Update - the licence was granted
I believe this to be the first Retention Licence (RL) applied for coal in Gippsland since the introduction of this new licence in 2012 under the MRSD Act. A RL was applied for gold at Walhalla this year and there are also numerous RL's under the Petroleum Act. (The inadequacies of this act is another story on its own)
One of our concerns here is with the new RL structure and to its impact on community renewal and a landowners ability to sell land at what would have been fair and reasonable prior to a RL being granted by the Minister. Who wants to buy into an industralised zone.
Second significant concern is the granting of a RL to an area that is already stressed knowing full well that to proceed with any form of mining development can never be rehabilitated, can never possibly have the negative hydrology effects mitigated and will put unknown pressures on the existing fragile and stressed fault lines.
This RL application should not be granted until the full bio-regional assessment of the Gippsland Region is completed and that the government acknowledge the existing subsidence legacy (land sinking) that has already cost the region millions of dollars for altered floodplains, damage to infrastructure and physical assets of built-up areas and environmental and coastal degradation.
Go to the following Community Over Mining webpages for the connecting stories for a better understanding of:
For Government to approve any such licence, knowing full well the existing subsidence issues, would be nepotism at its worst.
But that is how this Coalition government works.
- Look after their mates in industry without due regards and that sometimes ceertain areas are just not suitable to be mined regardless of its extractive worth
- They don't answer the questions from the community who are already living with dried up or salt intruded bores
- They don't investigate ways to address the subsidence issues and prevent it from getting worse
No, they ignore it and would rather expand mining for the short term gains.
This is incompetency by the State Coalition Government and for that reason they do not deserve to be in power.
They do not represent our region if they allow the economic incremental cost burden that we are already seeing create an even further inter-generational legacy to the detriment of Gippsland.
If this licence application is approved it stands for at least 10 years with an option for another two 10yr renewals and allows the licence holder to do extensive invasive works
- The application process for retention licences involves the same basic steps as for other licences, including submitting the application (including a work program), gaining priority, satisfying the “fit and proper person” requirement, satisfying the requirements of the Native Title Act/ Traditional Owners Settlement Framework and advertising.
A work plan has been submitted with the application but why could it not have been made public for the community to review for assessment as the work program covers work like -
- field exploration activities such as drilling, sampling, excavation of costeans or pits and surveying. (NSW fact sheet on costeaning method here) Depending on the dept and length of the trench depends on how well you can rehabilitate the site. You cannot replace the subsurface layers as they were before creating permanently altered drainage lines.
I urge you to read the following from DSDBI website.
Review of the Mineral Resources (Sustainable Development) Act 1990: Stage 1
- "The aim of the review is to encourage the development of the state’s mineral resources and support a strong industry in Victoria... this will provide a closer alignment between govt and industry processes." DPI
So, Government and Minerals Council are one of the same.
Stage one amendments to MRSD Act 1990 were mainly about licencing reform and implemented in Feb 2012.
Stage two amendments will be based on Work plan approvals and will be implemented soon.
This is meant to improve efficiencies in the system.
Lets hope it doesn't make the system even more one sided to the benefit of the miner than it already is.
Comment from the original DPI discussion paper - eliminating the work plan could significantly reduce the documentation and approvals required prior to work commencing. On the other hand, the work plan document is the primary instrument for consultation and endorsement by other agencies.
There is more that we in the community find disturbing if mining expansion increases under this method because even the Environmental Effects Statement (EES) process was supposed to be updated early 2013 and the Coalition Government do not want to do it because it will create too much environmental regulatory burden on industry in the exploration stage.
But shouldn't that be the purpose.
If the geology and terrain is not suited don't go there.
That's called common sense and forethought which are the two critical skills that this Coalition Government do not have.
Watch this space
Dept of State Development, Business & Innovation reply to my objection
21 March 2014
'An application containing Crown land, as is the case with this application, may need to address requirements of the Native Title Act 1993. Subsequently, it may take approximately 18-24 months before a decision is made. When the application is determined you will be advised.'