Lock the Gate shows again it can’t be trusted on mining

November 28, 2017

A document released by anti-mining activist group Lock the Gate has been found to be full of holes and exaggerations intended to scare the community about mining in NSW.

In attempting to compare a number of NSW mining projects yet to be approved with a proposed mine in Queensland, Lock the Gate has confused open cut and underground mining projects and vastly overstated the scale of the land that would be disturbed.

“Lock the Gate is yet to provide a report on the NSW mining industry that is anything other than anti-coal propaganda,” said NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee.

“They mix up basic facts about these projects, including confusing thermal coal mines with those that would produce metallurgical coal for making steel.

“They claim existing mines that want to keep operating are the same as new mines, intentionally overstating the amount of coal they would produce. They also ignore the progressive rehabilitation completed by these existing mines as new mining is carried out.

“They use the overall size of a mining lease to claim large areas of ‘disturbed’ land, when actual mining operations would only use a small proportion of land on a mining lease.

“They’ve also included several projects at the pre-EIS stage, which means they are seeking feedback from the community and regulators on the proposal, not even close to assessment and decision stage in the NSW planning system.

“Lock the Gate’s claims on mining simply can’t be trusted. They are an activist group opposed to mining, with a record of illegal and dangerous anti-mining activity. We challenge Lock the Gate to name a single mining operation in NSW they support.”

Here are some actual facts on mining in NSW:
  • Mining operations in NSW use just 0.1% of land in NSW compared to 76% for agriculture (Source: Australian Collaborative Land Use and Management Program)
  • Mining accounts for just 1.4% of water use in NSW compared with 49.1% for agriculture (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics)
  • There are 42 operating coal mines now compared with 62 in 2010 - around one third less  - and the number of operating coal mines is the lowest for more than 20 years (Source: Coal Services Pty Ltd)
  • More than 21,000 people are directly employed in coal mining operations in NSW (Source: Coal Services Pty Ltd)
  • Mining companies spent $9.5 billion in 2015/16 on wages, purchases of goods and services from more than 8,000 local businesses and community contributions (Source: NSW Mining Economic Expenditure Survey)
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