Mine developer takes aim at council

THE developers of the Rocky Hill coal mine have used the release of their response to submissions on the project to take aim at Gloucester Shire Council’s opposition to the proposed mine.

A total of 1700 submissions were received during the exhibition of the Rocky Hill proposal between the end of August and the end of October last year.

Of those just 327 were supportive of the proposal.

GRL chief executive Grant Polwarth.

GRL chief executive Grant Polwarth.

Rocky Hill developers Gloucester Resources Limited (GRL) said 1155 submissions opposing the proposal comprised signed standard form letters with more than 1000 of those originating from outside the Upper Hunter area.

Approximately 350 submissions were from the Gloucester area.

Conversely, 220 of the submissions supporting the mine came from the Gloucester district.

In its 650 page response to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, GRL attacked Gloucester Shire Council for its ‘collaboration’ with outspoken community groups opposing the proposal.

It said council’s alignment with such groups was of particular concern to many in the district who were “firmly of the opinion that, despite the rhetoric to the contrary, council is not representing the community but rather a specific vocal component”.

GRL chief executive Grant Polwarth said the company’s formal response to the submissions took an ‘issue by issue’ approach and provided clarification or further explanation on technical matters as well as additional information and modelling outcomes.

 GRL commissioned an independent social and economic impact assessment early in the design phase to identify issues of concern to the community.

“That information was then used to guide GRL’s innovative approach to mine design and inform the measures to be adopted to minimise impacts and maximise the benefits to the community,” Mr Polwarth said.

“Importantly, the response confirms our view that the design as presented in the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) is the most appropriate to recover the valuable resources at Rocky Hill while addressing community issues.”

NSW Planning and Infrastructure will now prepare an assessment report on the Project before it is referred to the Assessment Authority for determination.

The document is also available on the Rocky Hill Coal Project website www.rockyhillproject.com.au