With the decision on the future of the Springvale Mine Extension Project now delayed not only are hundreds of jobs on the line the future of the Lithgow community is also at risk.
“I was devastated to hear that the NSW Minister for Planning has referred the decision on the application for the Springvale Mine Extension Project to another Planning Assessment Commission hearing” said Lithgow City Council Mayor, Councillor Maree Statham “the Springvale Mine is a vital component of the Lithgow community and now we have well over three hundred employees who are to be stood down and even more jobs now under direct threat.”
“There is also of course the impact on the Mount Piper Power Station which employs some two hundred and fifty staff and supplies nearly 15% of NSW’s power supply” said Mayor Statham.
“The Environmental Groups are making it near impossible and unnecessarily jeopardizing the future of families and businesses in the Lithgow community.”
“For near on the past year Council has been lobbying both the State and Federal governments in relation to the importance of the Springvale Mine to the Lithgow community, the General Manager, Deputy Mayor, Councillor Ray Thompson and myself have had many face to face meetings with Ministers and the Premier on this matter.”
“I am so disappointed that at the time that we were meeting with the Premier seeking an urgent decision for the approval of the Springvale application that the decision had already been made that the next PAC Hearing was to take place. We were told nothing of this!”
“It now saddens me so much that employees are being stood down while a decision on the mine is being procrastinated on and also the threats of possible legal action by environmental groups. It appears that these environmental groups are using their position with submissions lobbying against mining to impact how the government processes these applications.”
“Only last month we were given the good news that the PAC reported so positively on the mine and now that has been blown completely out of the water.”
“This application was originally proposed to the NSW Department of Planning in September 2012, only a month short of three years ago.”
“This was the start of an extremely complex and detailed process and was followed by a Planning Focus Meeting, impact assessments, the submission of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), the exhibition of the proposal, a submission stage, merit assessment, a PAC Hearing, a PAC Report and further scrutiny by the Department of Planning.”
“Now we still have many more steps to go and we still have not got the application to the Federal Government who also has to do its own assessment of the proposal.”
“This has been absolutely ridiculous, but what has been totally ridiculous has been that in that time there have been no less than seven changes to the legislation that have impacted on this development!”
“Added to this there have been changes to policies and even policy and legislation changes made at the eleventh hour, all adversely impacting on the application.”
“We now have an application that is still in limbo along with a mine, hundreds of workers and their families and an entire community facing an uncertain future. The economic loss incurred by businesses and the stress on families will be a lot to bare.”
“It is absolutely disgraceful that particular lobby groups that are neither residents nor ratepayers in our Local Government area have the right to influence the decision. I do not see that the mining industry in the Lithgow area has been treated fairly for quite some time.”
“To have a better understanding of this situation consider viewing Tuesday night’s 7.30 report on the ABC with Federal Minister Ian McFarlane viewing his opinions on this matter.”
“One very important point that is being overlooked is that this application is in support of extending an already existing underground mine, not a new open cut mine. Clearly there needs to be another process for considering this type of application rather than the red tape involved with a new mine.”
“Despite these unfortunate delays and the uncertainty for our community I must recognise the efforts of Local Members Paul Toole and John Cobb who have made countless representations in relation to this matter,” concluded Mayor Statham.
Councillor Maree Statham
Tel: 02 6354 9999
Mob: 0428 280 354
Fax: 02 6351 4259