Wybong Action Group has submitted a detailed objection to the proposed exploration licence made by Ridgelands Coal Resources.
NSW Trade and Investment is reviewing the 17 responses received during the 28-day public comment period for the exploration licence.
In the opening remarks of its submission, WAG proposes that “any and every application for a licence to explore the Ridgelands region should not be accepted.”
A proposed work program by Ridgelands Coal suggests drilling 180 boreholes with two thirds of the holes to assess coal seams and one-third to be partly cored holes for coal quality analyses.
The proposed exploration area is about 7890 hectares, 20 kilometres north-west of Muswellbrook.
In its nine-page objection, WAG says not enough information has been provided on activities to be carried out by Ridgelands Coal if the five-year lease is approved.
“The work program supplied by the applicant is non-specific and vague,” the objection says.
“It provides no detail on activities and there is too much uncertainty to be able to provide specific comment or on which to make a decision to accept the application.”
The application goes on to state, “the Upper Hunter Valley and in particular the Ridgelands [exploration lease area] is an area of biogeographical interest” and a major concern is that no comprehensive assessment of vegetation in the area has been carried out.
WAG suggests further social and economic losses to the Wybong community if the licence is approved.
“The fractured community that remain continue to be affected by operational noise, fine particulate airborne dust, dust deposition, tainted rain water etc and their properties and investments stripped of genuine market value,” the submission reads.
“For the rural landholder exploration represents an immediate loss of external marketable interest in their property and investment.”
WAG recommends that the department decline the exploration licence on grounds of insufficient information on the works program, environmental impacts and long-term effects to agriculture.
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