19 February, 2016

Rehabilitation plans for Charbon Mine

The Hon Anthony Roberts MP
Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy

Ms Donna Upton
Capertee Valley Alliance
PO Box 83

Dear Ms Uoton
Thank you for your correspondence of 1 November 2015 concerning the rehabilitation of
the Centennial Coal Charbon (Charbon) mine site.

The NSW Department of Industry, Skills & Regional Development, Division of Resources & Energy (DRE) regulates mining operations with respect to the closure and rehabilitation requirements of mining sites.

Open-cut mining at the Charbon mine ceased on 15 August 2015, while underground mining ceased on 7 March 2014. Centennial Coal is currently drafting a Mine Closure Plan for the entire area of the mine. The Mine Closure Plan will be assessed and, if satisfactory, approved by DRE. The Mine Closure Plan must address the obligations and rehabilitation standards as approved in the mine's development consent.

Centennial Coal has advised DRE of its intention to apply for a new development consent for the entire mine site that will cover all the rehabilitation commitments contained within the future Mine Closure Plan, and any other mining activity that may be envisaged. A new Environmental lmpact Statement (ElS) is being prepared by the company in support of that application. The company envisages the EIS will go on exhibition in 20'16 and, assuming it is approved, will facilitate the development of the detailed mine closure olan. DRE has been advised that Centennial Coal has a substantial seed bank housed at the Charbon mine. This seed bank is being replenished by ongoing seed collection programs initiated by the company and DRE is not aware of any material deficiency or inability on the part of Centennral Coal to eventually undertake an effective revegetation programme using this seed bank at the Charbon mine.

The Charbon mine has operated under several mining leases issued under the NSW
Mining Act 1992. Each of these leases require that mining disturbances be rehabilitated to DRE's satisfaction. The obligations remain in force until DRE is satisfied that all rehabilitation is complete and the site is safe and stable, fit for the intended future land use purposes approved in the development consent.

Standard mining lease conditions relating to rehabilitation include:

. Mining Operations Plan - mining operations (including rehabilitation) must not be carried out otherwise than in accordance with a Mining Operations Plan (MOP), which has been approved by the Director Genera.

. Rehabilitation - any disturbance as a result of activities under this lease must be 
rehabilitated to the satisfaction of the Director General.

The NSW Government is committed to ensuring that the people of this state do not incur a financial liability as a result of coal, mineral and petroleum exploration and production activities. Therefore, all titleholders engaged in these activities are required to lodge a security deposit. The security deposit must cover the NSW Government's full costs in undertaking rehabilitation in the event of default by the titleholder. The security deposit held by DRE for the Charbon mine is $5,312,000.

I am advised that DRE will review the adequacy of the deposit over the coming months as a matter of routine. The security deposit will not be returned to Centennial Coal until DRE is satisfied the rehabilitation work attains the required standards. Although Charbon has prepared a MOP, it cannot lawfully be approved until several matters relating to the Planning Consent are resolved.

DRE is aware of the equipment auction held recently on the Charbon mine site. This was equipment sold on behalf of the mining contractor engaged by the Charbon mine. The sale does not alter Centennial Coal's responsibility to rehabilitate the site.

There have been several open areas rehabilitated at the Charbon mine over the past ten years which has achieved acceptable results. More recent intensive mining activity in the southern open-cut has prevented the company undertaking broad scale rehabilitation in that area until the cessation of mining. Since mining has ceased, Centennial Coal has been directed to undertake targeted rehabilitation in areas not affected by the aforementioned matters relating to the Planning Consent.

lf you have any further enquiries, please contact Mr Michael McFadyen, Asststant
Director. Environmental Operations at DRE, on (02) 4931 6602.

Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.
Anthony Roberts MP

Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy

No comments: