Home > Court to scrutinise Berrima Colliery expansion rejection

Court to scrutinise Berrima Colliery expansion rejection

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Boral has won the right to appeal a court decision which rejected the expansion of its Berrima Colliery, a move which resulted in 30 job losses.

The colliery, located west of the Wingecarribee River, was given the go ahead to expand its mining operations last year, however the Southern Highlands Coal Action Group (SHCAG) challenged the decision on the Land and Environment Court.

The commission upheld SHCAG’s appeal, finding the impact of the proposed haulage route would be "sufficiently detrimental" to residents of Medway.

The mine was subsequently put into care and maintenance in October, resulting in more than 30 job losses.

However last Friday a judge upheld an appeal by the company, finding the Land and Environment Court Commissioners mad errors in their written judgement while also finding the parties were not given the option to address certain issues like traffic, Southern Highlands News reported.

The judge has ordered the matter be reviewed by new commissioners for a second determination.

A Boral spokesperson said the decision confirmed its position that the mine expansion should go ahead.

"Given that the original decision followed a lengthy process of consultation, we are disappointed Southern highlands Coal Action Group commenced the merits appeal and the subsequent significant costs their decision then incurred for Boral and the uncertainty it created unnecessarily for the mine and its workers," the spokesperson said.

"As previously announced, Berrima Colliery has been placed into 'care and maintenance' due to a number of reasons, including regulatory uncertainty.

"Boral will consider the implications of the Court's decision in due course."

Deputy Mayor Larry Whipper, who voted to overturn support for the mine’s expansion in 2012, said if the expansion did go ahead, affected workers should be the first priority.

"If it works out in their favour I'd be interested to see if they give those people their jobs back," he said.

The mine had been in operation since the 1920s and provided about 220,000 tonnes of coal a year to Boral’s nearby Berrima Cement Works.

The company said it remains committed to its cement operations at Berrima, which employs some 130 staff.

“Instead of using coal from the Colliery for cement manufacturing, we will start buying coal from third parties.”

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