Australia: Coal mine operator ordered to desist use of pipeline to extract underground water intended for farming

Author: John Ellicott, The Land, Published on: 15 January 2020

"Pipeline desist claim over Maules Creek coal mine water bid", 13 December 2019

A cease and desist letter over alleged illegal construction and use of a pipeline to transport groundwater from farming properties has been issued to Whitehaven Coal over its Maules Creek operation.

[...]

Lock the Gate NSW spokesperson Georgina Woods said..."Whitehaven is a rogue operator, running a mine in a parched landscape at a time when farmers in the region are struggling against this severe drought.

"Whitehaven Coal has already outbid multiple farmers for groundwater allocations, paying exorbitant prices that farmers simply can't compete against. It has been found to be illegally taking surface water, and now we have this unauthorised groundwater pipeline.

"Locals in the area are at their wits' end. The bores Whitehaven is extracting from were for farming and irrigation - never for mining.

[...]

Whitehaven said in a comment: ."Whitehaven confirms it has received a letter from the EDO to which a response is being prepared. The letter concerns water infrastructure connecting a Whitehaven-owned bore to Whitehaven's Maules Creek Mine, and for which Whitehaven holds appropriate Water Access Licences. The pipeline was constructed following approvals from NRAR and the Narrabri Council and in close consultation with the Department of Planning and other stakeholders. Continuity of water supply underpins mining operations and, at Maules Creek, directly supports over 600 jobs in the local community."

The company maintains it has observed all water licence requirements.

It is not known if legal action will be pursued over the pipeline.

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Related companies: Whitehaven Coal