Part of the Gardens of Stone under threat as open cut mining looms

Desolate: The Invincible mine near Lithgow.
Desolate: The Invincible mine near Lithgow.

Part of the spectacular and ecologically sensitive Gardens of Stone area is under threat as the Manildra Group (Castlereagh Coal) plans to open cut mine the area.

Owners of the former Coalpac Invincible mine near Lithgow, Manildra have applied for an extension to their current mine to open cut in an area which two independent Planning Assessment Commissions have said requires “the highest level of protection”.  The mine is located in the former Coalpac extension area which was previously rejected.

Home to fragile pagoda rock formations and rare and threatened plants and animals, the Gardens of Stone area has been recognised for its international geological significance and sensitive ecosystems.

The proposal will remove 50 hectares of woodland and slopes which are an integral part of the pagoda landscape.  It will mine close to some pagodas and will permanently destroy the habitat of animals, including threatened species.

Madi Maclean, president of the Blue Mountains Conservation Society, said: “Open cut mining totally devastates an area – it turns woodlands into moonscape, the plants and dependent animals are all removed, leaving a barren hole and it is impossible regenerate to its pre-mining state.

“Twice in the past, the society and other environmental groups have fought off plans to open cut the Gardens of Stone area. We need to do it again.

“If approved, the mine will open the way for more open cut mining in Gardens of Stone at Invincible and other nearby mines currently not operating. The Manilda group has already applied for extensive mining exploration licences around Invincible mine.”

The Planning Assessment Commission will decide on November 29 whether this destructive mining can go ahead.  A decision will be made very soon after.  

The Conservation Society is calling on the commission to uphold its previous decisions and is asking members of the community to make their voice heard and bring the proposal to a halt. This can be done by writing to the chair of the PAC objecting to Manildra’s proposal, using the email letter: www.colongwilderness.org.au/form/oppose-manildras-plans-write-objecting-submission-pac.