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Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine EIS Summary


Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine EIS Summary

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									           Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine
                    EIS Summary

This Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)             The EIS will support the various
has been prepared to accompany a                      applications for the range of approvals and
development application by Werris Creek               licences required.
Coal Pty Limited (the Proponent) for the              The Proponent has undertaken a
development and operation of a medium                 comprehensive consultation process with
scale open cut coal mine to be known as the           State and local government agencies and
Werris Creek Coal Mine. The area which is             the local community to identify issues of
the subject of the development application            concern that need to be addressed in the
(the “Project Site”) is located approximately         design of the proposal. Consultation with
4km south of Werris Creek and 11km                    the local community has included:
north-northwest of Quirindi in central
northern New South Wales (see Figure A).                  •   community meetings in Werris
The Project Site covers an area of                            Creek and Quirindi;
approximately 679ha and is centred on the                 •   the appointment of a community
“Narrawolga” property, and incorporates                       relations representative;
parts of the adjoining “Eurunderee” and
                                                          •   personal visits to surrounding
“Cintra” properties. The Proponent has
                                                              residents by representatives of the
submitted a mining lease application
                                                              Proponent         and/or        other
(MLA 249) over the Project Site.
                                                              environmental specialists;
The proposal would involve a number of                    •   distribution of a community
mining and related activities both within                     information newsletter; and
and external to the Project Site, all of which            •   an organised visit to the Whitehaven
are described in this EIS. Development                        Coal Mine given its similarities to
consent is sought for those activities                        the proposed Werris Creek Coal
associated with the mining, processing and                    Mine.
transportation of coal within and external to
the Project Site.

The proposal is “State significant” in
accordance with Section 76(A) 7(b)(ii) of the
Environmental Planning and Assessment
Act 1979, and the Minister for Infrastructure
and Planning is therefore the consent
authority. The proposal is also “designated
development” in accordance with the
provisions of Schedule 3 (Part 1) of the
Environmental Planning and Assessment
Regulation 2000.       The proposal is also
identified as “integrated development” as a
number of additional approvals and
licensing to the development consent are
required for the proposal to proceed.

                                     R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED
Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine                                                        Summary
                                                                                   Report 623/01

The concerns of the community and the                   PLANNING CONTEXT
government requirements have been
addressed throughout the environmental                  The proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine
impact assessment process, undertaken in                would be developed and operated in
conjunction with a team of experienced                  accordance with a number of State, regional
specialist  consultants    covering  the                and local planning instruments. Those
following environmental aspects.                        addressed as part of the planning and design
                                                        of the proposal referred to in the EIS
•   Surface Water    •   Aboriginal                     include:
                                                           •   State   Environmental    Planning
•   Groundwater      •   Noise and                             Policy No. 11 (SEPP 11) - Traffic
                         Vibration                             Generating Developments;
•   Flora            •   Air Quality                       •   State    Environmental Planning
•   Fauna            •   Acid Mine                             Policy No. 44 (SEPP 44) - Koala
                         Drainage                              Habitat Protection;

•   Soils and Land   •   Architectural                     •   State   Environmental  Planning
    Capability           Heritage                              Policy No. 34 (SEPP 34) - Major
                                                               Employment Generating Industrial
This summary presents an overview of the                   •   Draft Orana Regional
proposal, the features of the existing                         Environmental Plan No. 1 – Siding
environment and the predicted impacts of                       Spring;
the proposed open cut mine on the
surrounding environment. Emphasis has                      •   Quirindi Local Environmental Plan
been placed upon designing a proposal that                     1991; and
would avoid or minimise adverse                            •   Parry Local Environmental Plan
environmental    impacts     upon      the                     1987.
surrounding environment and local

                                                        DESCRIPTION OF THE
THE PROPONENT                                           PROPOSAL

The Proponent, Werris Creek Coal Pty                    The proposal, if approved, would involve
Limited, is a private Company comprising a              the following activities, the locations of
joint venture between Creek Resources Pty               which are shown on Figure B.
Ltd and Betalpha Pty Ltd. Creek Resources
Pty Ltd was formed to explore and develop                  •   Construction of a mine access road,
the coal resource in the area of the former                    rail load-out road and a mine
Werris Creek Colliery. The owners of                           entrance to the Werris Creek -
Betalpha Pty Ltd are also shareholders and                     Quirindi Road.
directors of Whitehaven Coal Mining
Limited (WCM), operator of the                             •   Coal mining by open cut mining
Whitehaven Coal Mine near Gunnedah, a                          methods    over     an area of
similar sized open cut coal mining                             approximately 80ha.

                                         R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED
Summary                                                          Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine
Report No. 623/01

                                 R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED
Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine                                                        Summary
                                                                                   Report 623/01

   •   Programmed         placement       of            A relatively low overburden/interburden :
       overburden      and      interburden             coal stripping ratio and lack of further
       materials both within and external to            processing requirements such as washing
       the open cut mine.                               prior to sale and despatch simplify the
                                                        proposal and reduce the cost of producing
   •   On-site size reduction and screening             the coal product.      The proximity and
       of the mined coal within a defined
                                                        availability of the Werris Creek rail siding
       coal processing area located west of
                                                        and Main Northern Railway Line also
       the open cut mine.
                                                        improve the economic basis for the
   •   Construction and operation of a rail             proposal and would assist in offsetting the
       load-out facility adjacent to the                relatively high freight costs to the Port of
       disused rail siding to the south of              Newcastle for despatch to export markets.
       Werris Creek (the “Werris Creek
       rail siding”).                                   The method of coal mining reflects the
                                                        variable dips throughout the folded coal
   •   Transportation of export product
                                                        seams. The limits of the proposed open cut
       coal from the coal processing area to
                                                        mine and associated infrastructure have
       the rail load-out facility along the
                                                        been predominantly set by economic and
       rail load-out road.
                                                        geological considerations with         the
   •   Transportation of domestic product               following environmental considerations
       coal from the coal processing area               also influencing the final design.
       by road via the mine access road and
       the Werris Creek - Quirindi Road.                   •   Agricultural Land
                                                               The mine design aims to minimise
   •   Installation of a range of services,
                                                               disturbance     to   higher  class
       structures and transportable build-
                                                               agricultural land and maximise its
                                                               re-establishment in the final
   •   Progressive shaping and rehab-                          landform.
       ilitation of the mine area, and other
                                                           •   Ecology
       areas of disturbance.
                                                               The proposed limit of mining and
                                                               overburden emplacement has been
The Resource                                                   designed to minimise disturbance to
                                                               an      endangered       ecological
The minable coal resource has been                             community (White Box Yellow Box
estimated at 9.8Mt. Coal quality analyses                      Blakely’s Red Gum Woodland
indicated the resource would produce a very                    community).
low sulphur thermal coal with typically
<12% ash and a specific energy of generally
                                                           •   Aboriginal Heritage
greater than 6 500kcal/kg. The coal would
                                                               An area on the western perimeter of
therefore be suitable, without any washing
                                                               the proposed open cut mine was
requirements, for sale as an export thermal
                                                               excised from the final design to
coal to overseas markets.
                                                               ensure a site of Aboriginal heritage
                                                               significance remains undisturbed.
Mine Planning Considerations
The overall design of the proposed open cut
mine, and the proposal in general, was
assessed and designed based on a range of
economic, geological and environmental

                                        R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED
Summary                                                               Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine
Report No. 623/01

   •   Noise                                            Wherever possible, the soil stripped would
       The proposed sequence of mine                    be transferred directly to completed areas of
       development and noise controls                   the final landform for respreading. Where
       have been designed to minimise the               this is not possible, the topsoil and subsoil
       noise generated by the proposal.                 would be stockpiled separately, to a height
                                                        no greater than 2m and 3m respectively,
   •   Visual Amenity                                   and at locations away from or protected
       The location, design and sequential              from natural or constructed drainage lines.
       development of the proposed
       activities minimises adverse impact
       to the visual amenity of the area.
                                                        Overburden / Interburden Removal
Site Establishment                                      The removal of the overburden / inter-
                                                        burden represents the main earthmoving
A 3 to 4 month site establishment phase                 component for the proposed mining
would precede the mining operations. These              operation. Approximately 43 million m3 of
activities would include construction of                overburden / interburden material would be
internal roads and erection of the coal                 mined over the life of the proposal.
processing facility, rail-load out facility and         Approximately 27% would be placed
the site administration and facilities.                 external to the open cut void and the
                                                        remainder placed within the open cut void.
                                                        The majority of the overburden/interburden
Mining Operations                                       would be blasted, removed and transferred
                                                        to the overburden emplacement by one of
The open cut mine would be developed                    three methods.
using conventional haulback and terrace
mining methods. These would involve the                    •   Haulback removal
sequential removal of vegetation, soil,                        Blasted material would be loaded to
overburden and interburden above and                           haul trucks and transferred via a
between each coal seam, coal removal and                       series of internal roads to the
progressive backfilling and rehabilitation of                  overburden emplacement.
mined-out areas.
                                                           •   Throw blasting
Vegetation Removal                                             Blasts would be designed to project
Clearing of vegetation would be undertaken                     the material to its destination in
on a progressive campaign basis, with the                      lower areas of the open cut void.
extent of clearing undertaken in each
campaign sufficient for the subsequent year                •   Carry dozing
of mine development. A bulldozer would                         Using a specifically designed
be used to clear the larger vegetation with                    bulldozer, blasted material would be
groundcover removed with the topsoil                           pushed to its intended destination
during soil removal activities.                                within the open cut void.

                                                        Blasting would typically occur three to four
Soil Removal                                            times per month.
Bulldozers and open bowl scrapers would
be used to strip the topsoil for all areas of
the Project Site to be disturbed. With the
exception of the internal roads, subsoil
would also be stripped from the major areas
of disturbance.

                                      R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED
Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine                                                         Summary
                                                                                    Report 623/01

Coal Mining                                             Infrastructure and Services
Following the removal of overburden/inter-
burden, a series of horizontal benches                  The     proposal     would     require   the
would be developed.                                     development of various Project Site
                                                        infrastructure and services (see Figure B).
Interburden layers or partings within the
coal seams of greater than 0.3m thick would             Infrastructure
be mined separately from the coal seams,                During the initial four months of the
with layers thinner than this mined as part             proposal, the existing “Narrawolga”
of the coal resource. This mined coal                   entrance would be used while a purpose-
would be stockpiled in a run-of-mine                    built mine entrance and mine access road
(ROM) stockpile.                                        are constructed for use during the life of the
                                                        proposal. An additional road linking the
Mining would commence at the southern                   coal processing area to the product coal
extremity of the proposed “limit of mining”             storage area and rail load-out facility would
and progress northward along east-west                  also be constructed. Both roads would be
oriented benches. Whenever possible, the                aligned to avoid disturbance to native
mined coal would be transported directly to             vegetation and sealed.
a ROM stockpile within the coal processing
                                                        Hardstand areas constructed by cut and fill
area, however, in order to minimise noise
                                                        methods would be developed for the coal
associated with night-time operations, a
                                                        processing and product coal storage areas
series of temporary coal stockpiles would
                                                        respectively. On the northern perimeter of
be developed within the open cut mine
                                                        the product coal storage area, a rail load-out
throughout the life of the mine. Annual
                                                        facility comprising a coal loading hopper
production of coal would average
                                                        and conveyor drive would be constructed to
1.6 million tonnes with a maximum of
                                                        deliver the product coal via a 100m
2.0 million tonnes per annum.
                                                        enclosed conveyor to a 1 000t capacity train
                                                        loading bin above the Werris Creek rail
Coal Processing
Coal processing would involve a crushing
and screening operation. The ROM coal                   Services
would be processed through a series of                  Potable water would be purchased from
crushers and screens, ultimately to yield               Liverpool Plains Shire Council to
coal product <50mm in size and to remove                supplement rainwater captured on the
the oversize and stone reject. Generally, up            Project Site. Up to 100ML of water would
to 50 000t of ROM coal and 35 000t of                   be required annually for operational
product coal would be retained within the               requirements. This would be obtained from:
coal processing area in stockpiles of up to                •   clean water captured in specially
5m in height. The processing plant would                       designed surface water dams;
generally operate during daylight hours
                                                           •   dirty water captured in sediment
with its location chosen to provide acoustic
                                                               basins around the Project Site; and
shielding by an overburden emplacement to
the east and southeast.                                    •   groundwater      including      water
                                                               pumped from the former Werris
                                                               Creek Colliery.

                                        R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED
Summary                                                                 Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine
Report No. 623/01

Electricity for site buildings and activities             would generally be restricted to 7:00am to
would be provided by either extensions to                 10:00pm.     Mining activities, and coal
existing lines.                                           loading to rail wagons would require 24hr
                                                          operations Monday to Saturday, with
It is estimated up to 5 540kL of fuel would               loading to rail wagons on Sunday a
be used on the Project Site per year and a                possibility depending on State Rail train
further 2 700kL for transport of the coal                 scheduling.
product. A bunded fuel storage area would
be located near the administration and                    Based on the quantity of ROM coal of
facilities area.                                          9.8Mt to be mined throughout the life of the
                                                          mine and an average production rate of
Bulk explosives would be used on site with                1.6Mtpa, the life of the proposed Werris
innocuous components stored on site and                   Creek Coal Mine would be approximately
detonators and boosters brought to site for               7 years.
each blast.
Product Transportation
                                                          During the construction phase, an estimated
The majority of coal produced would be                    workforce of up to 20 full-time equivalent
sold to export markets and delivered by rail              persons would be employed.
to the Port of Newcastle.         A small
proportion of the coal product (<30 000tpa)               The operation of the proposed open cut
would be despatched by road to local                      mine would require the direct employment
markets and other domestic users.                         of between 50-55 persons with an
                                                          additional 6 full-time equivalent positions
Product coal would be transferred from the                provided through contracted road and rail
coal processing area to the product coal                  transportation companies.
storage area the rail load-out road. One to
two trains, each carrying up to 3 200t of
coal, would be loaded from the rail load-out              Waste Management
facility and despatched each day.
                                                          The principal wastes that would be
The road transportation of coal to domestic               generated by the development of the
markets would be by a range of truck                      proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine can be
configurations carrying an average of 30t.                categorized as production and non-
An average of 8 truck movements a day, 6                  production wastes.       Production wastes,
days per week would deliver the coal to                   ie. overburden / interburden material, would
these markets.                                            be placed in the overburden emplacement.
                                                          Non-production wastes would include
                                                          general domestic-type wastes from the on-
Hours of Operation and Project Life                       site buildings and routine maintenance
                                                          consumables, oils and grease and sewage.
The hours of operation for the proposal
would vary depending on the activity.                     Domestic-type wastes and waste fuel and
                                                          oils would be collected and disposed of by a
Vegetation     clearing,   soil   removal,                licenced waste disposal contractor(s) with
rehabilitation work and coal loading to                   recyclable materials separated where
trucks for domestic markets would                         possible. A biocycle sewage treatment
generally be restricted to the hours of                   system to be approved by Liverpool Plains
7:00am to 6:00pm. On-site processing and                  Shire Council would be installed.
coal transport to the rail load-out facility

                                    R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED
Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine                                                              Summary
                                                                                         Report 623/01

Rehabilitation and Final Land Use                            Rehabilitation success would be continually
                                                             monitored with remedial work on areas of
The Proponent would adopt a progressive                      revegetation and/or water management
approach to the rehabilitation of areas of                   structures undertaken as required. Noxious
disturbance within the Project Site to ensure                weeds would be controlled through targeted
that, where practicable, completed mining                    campaigns on an as needs basis.
or overburden emplacement areas are
quickly shaped and vegetated to provide a
stable landform.       The proposed final                    ENVIRONMENTAL
landform would incorporate the two                           SAFEGUARDS AND IMPACTS
principal features of:
                                                             The components and features of the existing
   (i)    an      elongated     plateau at                   environment on and around the Project Site
          approximately 410m AHD, with                       have been studied in detail and the proposal
          localised hillocks and swales                      designed to avoid or minimise impacts.
          extending to the southeast of an                   Figure C presents the Project Site in its
          existing ridgeline; and                            local setting. A brief overview of the main
   (ii) a water storage up to 80m deep in                    components       of      the    surrounding
        the area of the final void.                          environment, the proposed safeguards and
                                                             the assessed level of impact is set out as
The Proponent currently envisages three
principal uses of the rehabilitated landform.                Surface Water

                                                             Surface water flows on and in the vicinity
   (i)    Primarily grazing (54ha).                          of the Project Site have been modified by
   (ii) Primarily cropping (43ha).                           agricultural activity. However, the general
                                                             surface water flow patterns of the pre-
   (iii) Conservation areas for the native                   agriculture environment have been retained
         flora and fauna including the                       with surface water flowing from or through
         White Box Yellow Box Blakely’s                      the Project Site to either Werris or Quipolly
         Red Gum Woodland community                          Creeks. Both creeks join the Mooki River
         (53ha).                                             which then flows northwards into the
                                                             Namoi River. The Project Site exhibits
To the extent practical, the areas designated                limited flooding potential and the proposal
to each of these final land uses would be                    has been designed to maintain the surface
comparable to the areas disturbed by the                     water flows to Werris and Quipolly Creeks
proposal.                                                    while diverting any possible flood waters
                                                             away from the proposed open cut mine and
Rehabilitation procedures would include the                  associated activities.
following activities.

   •     Overburden placement and shaping.
   •     Subsoil and topsoil replacement.
   •     Drainage installation.
   •     Revegetation.

                                            R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED
Summary                                                          Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine
Report No. 623/01

                                 R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED
Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine                                                         Summary
                                                                                    Report 623/01

A Surface Water Management Plan                         impact would be unlikely to have any effect
(SWMP) has been prepared for the proposal               on the availability on groundwater of the
which includes the capture and use of                   surrounding properties.
sediment containing “dirty” water, diverting
all but the maximum harvestable right of                The Proponent would monitor groundwater
“clean” water away from the proposed                    levels and the saturated thicknesses of bores
activities, and ensuring only water that has            and wells surrounding the Project Site to
had sufficient time for suspended sediment              validate the above predictions.
to settle out is discharged from the Project
Site. As such, the proposal would be
unlikely to have a significant impact on                Soils and Land Capability
either the quantity or quality of water                 The Project Site land capability ranges
available to downstream landholders and                 from Class III on the lower lying areas
the local environment. The Proponent                    currently used for cropping to Class V on
would initiate a monitoring program to                  the more elevated sections of the Project
assess the quality of water captured within             Site, which are typically associated with
the Project Site and discharged from the                remnant native woodland vegetation. The
Project Site.                                           agricultural suitability classes of the Project
                                                        Site range from Class 2 to Class 4.
                                                        The topsoil and subsoil sampled on the
Within the vicinity of the Project Site,                Project Site were generally non-saline,
groundwater occurs within three aquifers,               indicated low erosion potential, and
namely:                                                 exhibited characteristics making them
                                                        amenable for use in the rehabilitation of
   (i) Permian coal measures;                           disturbed areas.
   (ii) Werrie basalt; and
   (iii) Quaternary sediments.                          In order to re-establish comparable areas of
                                                        the higher class agricultural land disturbed
The groundwater within the Permian coal                 by the proposal, higher quality soils would
measures strata is isolated from other                  be preferentially stripped, stockpiled and
groundwater aquifers by a very low                      respread over the upper surface of the final
permeability layer of weathered basalt and              landform designated for cropping. Other
clay. The proposed open cut mine would be               soils would be stripped and soil transferred
restricted to the Permian coal measures                 directly to areas of the completed final
aquifer.                                                landform in preference to stockpiling.

No significant decrease in yield is predicted           The re-establishment of 43ha of land of
for any of the groundwater bores or wells               agricultural suitability Class 2 land, whilst
on or surrounding the Project Site. A                   less than the 71ha disturbed by the
maximum decrease in groundwater levels of               proposal, has been assessed as acceptable
0.1m is predicted within those bores on the             given the lack of flatter areas on the final
closest landholdings. It is also predicted that         landform and the re-establishment of an
within 20 years of the cessation of mining,             endangered ecological community in the
groundwater levels within the Project Site              design of the final landform.
would return to their pre-mining levels of
approximately 365m AHD. This negligible

                                           R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED
Summary                                                                 Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine
Report No. 623/01

Flora and Fauna                                           Fauna
                                                          A total of 80 fauna species were identified
Flora                                                     on the Project Site, with two of these listed
A total of six vegetation communities were                as threatened under the Threatened Species
identified within the Project Site with two               Conservation Act 1995. A further five
of these listed as Endangered under the                   species were listed as having been
NSW Threatened Species and Conservation                   previously recorded on or within 10km of
Act (1995) (TSC Act). These are:                          the Project Site. Operational safeguards to
                                                          be implemented by the Proponent to
   •   White Box Yellow Box Blakely’s                     minimise impacts on fauna would include:
       Red Gum Woodland; and
                                                             •   minimising the clearing of native
   •   Brigalow within the Brigalow Belt                         woodland vegetation;
       South, Nandewar and Darling
       Riverine Plains Bioregions.                           •   clearing vegetation predominantly
                                                                 between late Spring and Autumn;
Of these two communities, only the White                     •   undertaking pre-clearing surveys for
Box Yellow Box Blakely’s Red Gum                                 threatened fauna;
Woodland community would be disturbed
(43ha). The regional significance of the                     •   re-establishment of the endangered
removal of this community was assessed                           woodland community across the
but deemed to be low given the area to be                        final landform; and
disturbed represented less than 1% of this                   •   livestock exclusion from 200ha of
community between Werris Creek and                               the Project Site for the life of the
Quirindi.                                                        proposal.
No threatened flora species were identified               An assessment of the impacts of the
within the Project Site and no area of                    proposal on the identified or potentially
nearby World Heritage, wetlands of                        occurring threatened species found there
international significance or critical habitat            would be no significant impact. Any impact
were identified on, nearby or associated                  on wildlife corridor connectivity and
with the Project Site.                                    conductivity, assessed under the Native
                                                          Vegetation Conservation Act 1997 (NVC
To compensate for the disturbance to                      Act) would be limited to the life of the
almost 43ha of the White Box Yellow Box                   proposal after which corridor connectivity
Blakely’s Red Gum Woodland community,                     would actually be improved. The proposal
the Proponent has designated 53ha of the                  would therefore have minimal impact on
final landform to the re-establishment of                 local fauna.
this community. This area would also serve
to link up to 115ha of previously isolated
pockets of remnant areas of this community                Aboriginal and European
within a total area of 200ha fenced to                    Heritage
exclude livestock grazing and allow natural
regeneration of native vegetation. Given                  Aboriginal Heritage
the lack of threatened flora species on the               A search of the Aboriginal Sites Register
Project Site and the low regional                         identified three sites within a 10km x 10km
significance of the endangered community,                 area centred on the Project Site. One of
the impact of the proposal on local flora                 these sites (the “Site”), was within an area
would be minor and adequately offset by                   being considered for mining (see Figure B).
the proposed rehabilitation strategy.                     In keeping with a request from the

                                     R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED
Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine                                                           Summary
                                                                                      Report 623/01

Nungaroo Local Aboriginal Land Council                    emplacement. During this period, activities
(LALC), the limit of mining was amended                   would be carefully managed to avoid, or
to exclude the Site. The Proponent has                    limit the frequency of, any exceedances.
reached an agreement with the Nungaroo
LALC for ongoing monitoring and adoption                  The Proponent would monitor noise levels
of operational safeguards to ensure the Site              at a number of the surrounding residences
remained undisturbed.                                     and maintain dialogue with these residents
                                                          to ensure that the impacts of noise
European Heritage                                         generated by the proposal are minimised.
No items of heritage significance were
identified. The Proponent commissioned the                Vibration
preparation of a heritage schedule for the
Narrawolga residence.                                     A conservative model was used to predict
                                                          the ground vibration and airblast
Noise                                                     overpressure associated with the proposed
                                                          blasting within the open cut mine. DEC
The sources of noise around the Project Site              blasting criteria would be satisfied
are typical of a rural environment with                   throughout the entire life of the mine at all
contributions from transport noise and small              surrounding residences. Compliance would
local industry. Rating background noise                   be achieved through regular monitoring,
levels range between 30dB(A) and                          blast design and containment of levels of
33dB(A).                                                  maximum instantaneous charge.
The criteria for noise generated by the                   Fly rock propelled beyond the normal blast
proposed      development  have    been                   envelope should not occur based on the
established as:                                           proposed blast designs. However, the
                                                          generation of any fly rock would be
   •    an LAeq(15min) 5dB(A) above the                   carefully monitored (and blast design and
        measured background levels for the                blasting practices adjusted) to ensure that
        operation of the proposed Werris                  no person or stock is placed in any danger
        Creek Coal Mine;                                  as a result of blasting. It would not be
   •    an LAeq(15min) 10dB(A) above the                  necessary to close the Werris Creek -
        measured background levels during                 Quirindi Road nor restrict train movements
        the mine construction phase;                      on the Main Northern Railway Line during
   •    an LAmax 15dB(A) above the
        measured background level for
        night-time sleep disturbance; and                 Air Quality

   •    an LAeq(24 hour) of 55dB(A) and LAmax             The air quality assessment concluded that
        of 80dB(A) for rail noise.                        the adoption of air quality control measures
                                                          including dust suppression, conveyor
                                                          covers, progressive rehabilitation and
Exceedances of these noise goals would
                                                          minimisation of clearing in advance of
occur at the closest residences but only
                                                          operational activities would ensure in
during worst-case meteorological scenarios
                                                          increases to PM2.5, PM10, and dust
during the construction phase (0-4 months)
                                                          deposition would satisfy DEC and other
and initial mining (5-6 months) prior to the
                                                          government agency environmental and
completion of construction of a 15m high
                                                          health criteria.
acoustic bund. The bund would form part of
the eastern rim of the overburden

                                         R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED
Summary                                                                   Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine
Report No. 623/01

Emissions of nitrogen dioxide and sulphur                   outward migration of those in the 20-39
dioxide would also be well within the air                   years age bracket (presumably in search of
quality goals. Use of rail to transport the                 greater employment opportunities), as well
majority of the coal would minimise the                     as providing a significant boost to the
emission of greenhouse gases.                               economic activity of the Werris Creek and
                                                            the surrounding areas.
                                                            Transportation Aspects
The proposed activities, most notably the
overburden emplacement would be visible                     The proposal would make use of the Werris
from a number of local and distant vantage                  Creek rail siding to transport the majority of
points particularly prior to its revegetation.              the coal produced to the Port of Newcastle.
However, the overburden emplacement has                     The proposed despatch of one to two coal
been designed to appear an extension of an                  trains per day from the Project Site would
existing north-south oriented ridge within                  represent an increase of 10% to 17% of
the Project Site and therefore reduce the                   trains on this line, decreasing to 5% as rail
long-term impact of the new landform. The                   traffic increases closer to Newcastle. The
placement of all infrastructure and the coal                frequency of trains would have little impact
processing area on the western side of the                  on either the operation of the Werris Creek
central ridge, the Proponent’s commitment                   Rail Centre or the Main Northern Railway
to minimise the extent of surface                           Line.
disturbance in advance of mining and to
implement progressive rehabilitation, in                    Limited quantities of coal would be
conjunction with the visual shielding                       transported by road to local markets,
offered by the overburden emplacement,                      typically within a 100km radius of the
should ensure the visual impact of the                      Project Site. The projected average of 8
proposal is acceptable.                                     heavy vehicle movements per day in
                                                            conjunction with up to 100 light vehicle
Socio-economic Setting                                      movements per day would represent a
                                                            maximum 8% increase in traffic on the
The Project Site is located within the                      Werris Creek – Quirindi Road in the
Liverpool Plains Shire Council Local                        vicinity of the Project Site and have
Government Area. Based on the 2001                          minimal impact on the traffic users or road
Census figures, Werris Creek exhibits a                     condition.
relatively high unemployment rate (13%)
with both Werris Creek and surrounding                      Land Use
areas being significantly under-represented
in the 20-39 years age bracket. The                         The Project Site is located within an area
proposal would offer significant increases                  used predominantly for mixed farming, ie. a
in employment opportunities both through                    combination of cropping (generally wheat,
direct employment at the Werris Creek Coal                  oats or lucerne) and cattle grazing. During
Mine and as a result of an increased                        the life of the proposal, there would be a
demand for goods and services associated                    change in the land use on the Project Site.
with the introduction of a major                            However, the proposal would not influence
development. The Proponent intends to                       the land use on surrounding landholdings.
maximise the number of local residents
employed with suitable training provided
throughout the life of the proposal. This
could assist in reversing the trend for the

                                     R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED
Proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine                                                         Summary
                                                                                    Report 623/01

PROJECT JUSTIFICATION                                     (iii) provide for an increase in wildlife
                                                                corridor     conductivity      and
The proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine and                         connectivity through the re-
associated activities has been assessed in                      establishment of the White Box
terms of a wide range of biophysical, social                    Yellow Box Blakely’s Red Gum
and economic issues. Whilst the overall                         Woodland community;
level of impact has been assessed to be
minimal, the predicted impacts can be                     (iv) have a minimal and manageable
justified in terms of the economic and social                  impact on the biophysical
benefits to Werris Creek and surrounding                       environment;
areas, NSW and Australia, the market                      (v)    address the    perceived    social
opportunities for local and export quality                       impacts;
coal and the principles of ecological
                                                          (vi) contribute to the continued
sustainable development.
                                                               economic activity of Werris
                                                               Creek, Quirindi and the Liverpool
                                                               Plains Shire; and
                                                          (vii) provide for the partial re-
The proposed Werris Creek Coal Mine has,                        establishment of higher class
to the extent feasible, been designed to                        agricultural land and grazing land
address the issues of concern to the                            therefore providing for post-
community and all levels of government                          mining economic activity on the
and the principles of ecological sustainable                    Project Site.
development. The proposal provides for the
mining, production, sale and despatch of a
high quality coal product which would be
significant in generating employment
opportunities and boosting the local
economies of Werris Creek, Quirindi and
other surrounding communities. The post-
mining landform would integrate the re-
establishment of agricultural land with areas
designated for the conservation of native
flora and fauna.

This document, and the range of specialist
consultant studies undertaken, have
identified that should the Werris Creek Coal
Mine be granted development approval to
proceed, it would:

   (i)    contribute to satisfying the
          demand for domestic and export
          quality coal;
   (ii)   satisfy sustainable development

                                         R. W. CORKERY & CO. PTY. LIMITED

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