Tahmoor Coal refutes Wollondilly MP's claims

DPIE assessment report map. Picture: Supplied

DPIE assessment report map. Picture: Supplied

SIMEC Tahmoor Coking Coal has refuted Wollondilly MP Nathaniel Smith's recent claims that it had jeopardised the future of its staff by pursuing the Tahmoor South Project.

The Tahmoor South Project is the expansion of an existing mining operation, which would mine directly beneath the northern and north-eastern outskirts of the township of Bargo including homes.

In a statement Tahmoor Coal said their intention was to secure the future of its workers.

"The fact is, the current coking coal supply will be exhausted in 18 months and without this project, more than 400 current jobs - and the 150 job opportunities to be created during construction - will be lost in an economically challenging environment," the statement read.

"Coal mining has a long history in this community; countless local businesses have been built and grown with us in the Wollondilly shire.

"Their futures are also at risk if the shire loses one of its largest employers.

"Independent projections show an approved mine will see more than $130 million injected into the Wollondilly shire, where these businesses operate.

"We will also continue to provide funding for initiatives like the Community Pantry and have proposed a $3.4 million contribution to the upgrade of the Bargo Sportsground."

Wollondilly MP Nathaniel Smith slammed the NSW Department of Planning's approval of the Tahmoor mine expansion due to concerns about mine subsidence.

Last week Mr Smith told the Advertiser those affected by mine subsidence have described it to him as a 'living hell'.

"What is clear to me, and confirmed in the Government report, is that at least 143 family homes will be affected by this mine expansion beneath the northern and north-eastern outskirts of Bargo," he said.

"More worryingly, at least 22 homes will be damaged to such an extent that they will require offers of acquisition.

"The dilemma I face as the local MP in this matter is balancing the interests of those employed at the mine with those that will lose their family home.

"I am frustrated that Tahmoor Mine management have put the jobs of their 250 plus workforce in jeopardy by advancing an unsustainable and damaging expansion plan when there are other options at their disposal."

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The SIMEC statement said the original plan for mine extension had been amended to reduce homes directly mined under by 80 percent.

"The DPIE's report estimates there could be a potential offer of acquisition for 22 properties, it does not say these homes will certainly be damaged," the statement said.

"We've mined under 1890 properties on Tahmoor North and only eight requested we acquire them, reaffirming that properties have been built to meet subsidence specifications since the area was declared a mining subsidence zone in 1975.

"As Government bodies, the DPIE and Subsidence Advisory NSW employ independent experts which, following their studies, have supported the bodies' recommendations.

"Mr Smith's recent comments are at odds with these recommendations.

"We've requested further meetings with Mr Smith to directly discuss his recent concerns and hope to soon.

"We've enjoyed constructive working relationships with local MP's and councillors for 40 years, built on an understanding of our employment of local people, our local economic contribution and our continued support of community initiatives."

Electronic Public Hearings on the proposal will be held on Monday, February 15 and Tuesday, February 16 2021 from 10am at: www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/livestream.

Written submissions will be accepted up to 5pm on February 24 via email, post or the online portal: www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/have-your-say.

This story Tahmoor Coal refutes Wollondilly MP's claims first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.