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. . . an abysmal lack of substance


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The Chikarovski report into coal mining beneath the water catchment has failed in its prime task of analysing the negative outcomes of longwall mining and particularly the direct impact that mining will have on the crucial water balances through subsidence.

Several issues, both fundamental and crucial, remain unanswered. Whilst the report has identified many relevant points, which are basic to any technical evaluation and presentation (and therefore to the assurance of a mining licence), they still remain unanswered with conclusions that are often conflicting.

Tony Kirk, a mining engineer with more than 40 years of experience in the business of mine construction and management, said "It would seem that Kores (the proponent) does not fully understand or are not considering the complexities of water migration and the effects of subsidence on deep seated aquifers. If they did the committee would have had no choice but to recommend that mining should not proceed."

"Coal mining, in particular Longwall mining, has no place in an area that provides 53% of the water catchment for 300,000 people and which is environ-mentally sensitive."

“History speaks volumes and Sydney is surrounded by the destructive legacy of such practices.”

The Wyong water catchment, which supplies Central Coast water from Lake Munmorah to Patonga, was proclaimed under legislation as a water catchment district in 1951. An important component of that legislation was that the local government agency (Wyong Shire Council) is the consenting authority, which has now been over-ruled by the NSW State Government.

Despite rumours to the contrary, no approval has been given to mine beneath the Wyong Water Catchment.

The State Government is treading a dangerous path. As custodians of the States natural resourses the Governments' prime responsibility is to the welfare of its constituents and water must therefore take precedent over export coal. The people of the Central Coast have a legal and moral right to demand an assured supply of long term water supplies. This assurance cannot be found in the Chikarovski Report.

The Government’s inquiry has done nothing more than to provide a pathway for the mining company to proceed without first having determined the impact that a longwall coal mine will have upon the region’s water supply.