Springvale Mine water treatment facility approved | Infograph

PLAN TO COMPLY: A PAC meeting on Wednesday, May 17, is the last phase in approving a new water treatment facility for Springvale Mine to comply with consent conditions.

PLAN TO COMPLY: A PAC meeting on Wednesday, May 17, is the last phase in approving a new water treatment facility for Springvale Mine to comply with consent conditions.

The Planning Assessment Commission has approved the water treatment facility for Springvale Mine and related modifications. 

The Planning Assessment Commission’s determination report, published on June 19, said the project would have significant benefits for Sydney’s drinking water catchment and would allow the retention of mine workers in the local community. 

“The project would deliver significant economic benefit by sustaining local employment within the region and helping to retain energy security delivered by Mt Piper Power Station to NSW,” the report reads. 

A pipeline and new water treatment facility at Mount Piper Power Station were proposed by Centennial Coal and EnergyAustralia in order for Springvale Mine to fulfill conditions for its expansion, granted in October 2015. 

MT PIPER POWER: EnergyAustralia say the new treatment facility is needed to secure the Springvale Mine as a reliable source of coal.

MT PIPER POWER: EnergyAustralia say the new treatment facility is needed to secure the Springvale Mine as a reliable source of coal.

“This approval will now allow Centennial and EnergyAustralia to build a water treatment facility which will enable Springvale to exceed the water quality compliance conditions required by our consent,” Centennial Coal’s manager of external affairs Katie Brassil said in response to the PAC decision.

“We can now get on with the task of constructing this important piece of regional infrastructure.”

At an emotional PAC Meeting held at the Tony Luchetti Showground in May company representatives said the mine could not fulfill water quality conditions unless the plan to reuse mine water at the power station went ahead and therefore 600 jobs were on the line. 

DELIBERATION: Centennial Coal CEO Mick Cairney at the May PAC meeting.

DELIBERATION: Centennial Coal CEO Mick Cairney at the May PAC meeting.

“The Springvale Water Treatment Project is a $100 million investment. Without this project there is no Springvale Mine and therefore no fuel for Mt Piper Power Station,” Ms Brassil said. 

The approved development proposes waste water from the mine be treated at Mount Piper Power Station and reused in its cooling system, eliminating the need to release water into the catchment.

Remaining treated water will be stored in Thompsons Creek Reservoir for future use.  

Mine waters pumped through the Springvale Delta Water Scheme into the Upper Coxs River Catchment currently contribute 30 per cent of the salt load in the catchment. The mine’s license allows water of a salinity of 1,200 microSiemens per centimetre (μS/cm) to be released, however, consent conditions required this to be reduced to 1000 μS/cm by June 2017. 

The proposal therefore also included a request to suspend water quality consent conditions for Springvale Mine until the facility is complete.

This modification, as we all as a modification to allow Western Coal Services to receive residual waste from the new water treatment facility, have been approved.

Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said the approval of the treatment facility and the two modifications was good news.

“Today we have certainty about the future direction of mining in the Lithgow region,” he said.

“These three projects will deliver enormous benefits for our local community, securing hundreds of jobs.

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