Ten of the questions and the responses given to residents during the Cullen Bullen public meeting about the Coalpac Consolidation Project.
Q: “How do you plan to control the dust if you can’t control it now?” - Darcy McCann
A: “Limits are imposed on the amount of dust we can create and currently we are operating with less than half of those limits. In the past three years we have reduced the amount of dust we are generating.
We will also use a government approved model to help see what dust is generated under the worst possible conditions.” - Coalpac chief development officer Brett Leisemann.
Q: “There are certain criteria for different premises, are the actual results then dependant on the criteria and are they measured as individual or as an average?” - Julie Fable
A: “We will have a live system to monitor the dust levels. This is not imposed on us at the moment but it will be started if we are approved for the project. Everything is measured individually and then averaged, but both sets of data are available to the public.” - Coalpac CEO Ian Follington
Q: “How many blasts per month will there be and you are proposing to increase operations, if you want control the dust now how will you in the future?” - Garry Boss.
A: “Currently we have four to five blasts per month and the real time monitoring system will help us monitor the dust.” - Environmental manager Ben Eastwood.
A:Currently we are running smaller sized equipment and we will be looking at increasing the size of our equipment which will reduce the dust. Most of the dust from the truck on the haul road will be decreased as well by using larger equipment.” - Coalpac chief development officer Brett Leisemann.
Q: “If the proposal goes ahead, how will coal be transported in the immediate future?” - Nolene Thorne
A: “After the approval the first thing we plan to do is build the conveyor. The trucks will only be on the road as long as the construction of the conveyor takes.” - Coalpac chief development officer Brett Leisemann.
Q: “We made complaints about the damage to our home and an assessor was paid by Coalpac to come and have a look at the house. We were told that we couldn’t get an independent assessor because it was too hard. I don’t think it will be fair or unbias if the assessor is being paid and chosen by Coalpac.” – Janice Clavewood.
A: “The assessors are chosen from a list provided by the state government, and we must choose someone on that list. I am not sure who said you couldn’t have an independent assessor.
I think there can be a condition that assessors are more independent and can be chosen by the residents from that government list.” - Coalpac chief development officer Brett Leisemann.
Q: “It has been established that mining will continue for another 20 years. When you start the high wall mining what shifts will you have? Any properties that are purchased in town, are the rates paid collectively or individual? – Ben Gilson
A: “Mining will be 24/7, continuous mining in areas that can be done that way.” - Coalpac chief development officer Brett Leisemann.
“All rates are paid on properties individually.” - Coalpac CEO Ian Follington
Q: “Will the funding for this area be given to Cullen Bullen and are their any guarentees for funding for this area only?”
A: “Previous companies have given funds for the town and that money has been put into a trust to be spent only in this area. The funding has gone towards the skate park and the hall improvements” – Lithgow City Council mayor Neville Castle.
Q: “What sort of monitoring of waterways in the area is done for contaminants and a reduction in flow?” – Steven Hantos.
A: “We use a closed system with different classes of water including dirty water, clean water and coal contact water which is contained in dams and then can be transferred to where it is needed. Any excess of water flows back into the underground workings. There is a series of monitoring systems that are measured on a regular basis and a monthly monitor for contaminants. Most of the water is sourced from underground flows. The water balance has also been assessed and there is a loss of water in some catchment areas. All the results are published for public viewing.” – Environment manager Ben Eastwood
Q: “Coalpac has been very transparent about their funding. In the past funds have been paid by centennial for Ivonhoe North and by xstrata for Baal Bone. But I have no knowledge of the funds being spent in this town that was given by these two companies. With the Coalpac funding be paid straight to the community? I don’t think Cullen Bullen should have to subsidise greater Lithgow if they are not affected.” - Mick Bowlfield
A: “When Xstrata were approved there were no additional funds that had to be paid to the community. Now with new legislations the funding has to be paid straight to the town.” – Lithgow City Council mayor Neville Castle.
“The offer of $5 million is something that has been put for the community by Coalpac, not something we have been told that we have to offer and the company supports the fact that Cullen Bullen residents have a say where this money is best spent.” - Coalpac CEO Ian Follington
Q: “How big is the environmental offset?” – Diane Taylor
A: “What we disturb has to be offset by another area and we own a number of private properties for biodiversity offset. We must have the arrangement secure for the offset before we go ahead.” - Coalpac chief development officer Brett Leisemann.
Q: I brought a property here for the sole purpose of it being my kids inheritance, and now it will probably be devalued because of the mine.” - Veronica Walsh.
A: “We are injecting funds to develop the area and also to assist more infrastructure in the town to ultimately improve the value of the town. There are people in our current workforce that want to live here. With more employment and better infrastructure it will become a desirable place to live, which should decrease prices,” – Compliance manager Grant Meadlock.
Q: “What sort of noise monitoring will there be?” – Reg Markham
A: “Noise monitoring is undertaken by an independent consultant and noise is monitored day and night. While at the moment there isn’t any mining at night there is still maintenance. We have offered to undertake more monitoring at private residents but currently we have several fixed locations where this is done.” – Environment manager Ben Eastwood