Letter To The Editor: Mt Pleasant Coal Mine

Filed in editorletters by July 29, 2020

DEAR Scone.com.au,

Coalmine works have now engulfed the farming land and bushland very close to NW Muswellbrook, which has long suffered coal mine impacts from Bengalla before that.

From Big W, we now can’t see the bushland horizon, the distant view is gone behind spoil heaps.

This is only phase 1 of the Mount Pleasant Mine.  If what we see already is the impact of it after only two years, what will it be like after its full 6 years?    

And there is a current application on right now, to cover several more phases at once, for 2027-2048.

Maybe MACH is desperate to secure quick approval for a set of high-impact phases extending to 2048, all at once and now before the full impacts of this first phase have hit. 

Already local farms are suffering dust, noise and vibration the whole time. The huge mounds of spoil have much higher to go yet.

In this age of Climate threat, and challenge to coal, MACH has to get its facts right to be believed.   So it must already be aware of the impacts their current new proposal will have on us, to the north of the Castlerock Road ridge.  

It destroys much of that ridge and road, digging it down to pit level. 

The towering spoil heap around this, a pit three times the size of Bengalla’s,  is open to view from a vast amphitheatre, our entire Upper Hunter Valley north of Muswellbrook.  

However, nobody has been told this, just a few advertisements in a few mining-town papers.

If MACH knows the impacts, why are they not published openly in advance, to the whole of the Upper Hunter?

In other countries,  pictures of before-and-after would be with us years ago.

The one ridge reaching out across the Hunter Valley, is very plain to see from Scone.  Now it partly screens Aberdeen’s view of the growing spoil heaps around phase 1 of Mt Pleasant Coal Mine.    

Quite possibly the ridge might divide one aquifer from another, yet MACH claims that destroying the ridge, and digging out beneath it, will not alter the mine’s water handling in the area.

MACH should add to its maps on the website, the water discharges into the Hunter; and the pattern of water movement.

Castlerock Road ridge is the only trafficable road from our valley directly up to Castlerock Peak and the escarpment. 

It is priceless, unique and of course, very ancient heritage; affording a magnificent panoramic view of the Hunter Valley’s glorious landscape. 

Its destruction is being planned, we and our tourism people are not told, and the State Government is anyone’s for a song.   

MACH will sell the extra 22 years of mining as a job chance, but it must necessarily, as usual with mines, take our skilled people from existing jobs; and deny others, especially young people, potential sustainable job opportunities for future healthy life.

We are lucky that we now have another week (until Friday July 31) to send our concerns to help in the compilation of a social Impact Assessment.

We can do this via the survey put out with maps of the project, in MACH Energy’s website.

 

Regards,

Bev Atkinson, Scone.

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