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Brazen Water Loss by Mining Company Demonstrates Systemic Problems: Greens

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
2 August 2023

The regularity of compliance activity by the Natural Resource Access Regulator is not a win for New South Wales, but proof of a pattern of socially irresponsible and unlawful behaviour by mining companies, says Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and spokesperson for mining and water.

“Compliance activity on such a regular basis shows a systemic problem with our system,” Ms Faehrmann said.

“SIMEC Mining is the third mining company in NSW to have been fined in the last two or three months for offences in relation to water. Just last month, NRAR entered into the largest enforceable undertaking since its establishment.”

“These aren’t isolated incidents. Most of these cases involve companies either intentionally taking water which they know they don’t hold appropriate licences for or they’ve done it before.”

Tahmoor mine has previously been ordered by the NSW Government to repair damage it caused to nearby creeks.

“The public has a right to know just how much water is being taken by mining operations in Sydney’s water catchment, but with the extent of damage caused to multiple creeks, we really can’t be sure how much water was lost,” said Ms Faehrmann.

“If these companies are able to simply seek out an enforceable undertaking where they’re fined $150,000, what’s to prevent them from doing it again while they rake in eyewatering profits?”

“This is a company that had its application for expansion approved by the Independent Planning Commission earlier this year and is now one of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters in this state.”

“I’ve visited Redbank Creek. I’ve seen the damage that subsidence from longwall mining does to waterways. The subsidence from these operations impacts everything from the shape of the creek bed, the flow of the channel, and the water chemistry.”

“We need stricter compliance measures than what we have. As things stand, companies are asking NRAR for an enforceable undertaking knowing that it’s a slap on the wrist for them.”

“Mining has no place in Sydney’s water catchment. The Government must detail a plan to transition out of this damaging activity that protects our catchment and supports workers,” says Cate Faehrmann.

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
2 August 2023
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