July 2015 Update

Events SHCAG - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Hume Coals Mine Plan

At long last Hume Coal has released a mine plan and what a plan it is … plenty of verbiage and spin but little evidence that the major issue regarding the groundwater has been addressed. They’re planning to undertake what they say is a new experimental form of mining called “pine feather” which they say reduces damage but they provide no evidence at all regarding where and how this has been employed successfully! There’s no water-study and plenty of motherhood. With the global coal mining industry in meltdown and plenty of mines up for sale, it’s hard to see any government approving such a speculative plan! Well have a lot more to say on this later.

You can find the document "Preliminary Environmental Assessment - The Hume Coal Project" on their website.  Not announced, but found on their website is also the "Preliminary Environmental Assessment - The Berrima Rail Project" which pretty much confirms what we had suspected would be the case – that the coal will be transported by rail from the western side of the highway up to the Berrima Cement Works rail siding for further rail transportation.

ACAC this Thursday at Sutton Forest Pub!

We’re sure that many of you have queries so we’re re-starting our Anti Coal Activity Catchup (ACAC) meetings on the last Thursdays of the month at the Sutton Forest pub.  There will be one next Thursday 30 July at 6.30 pm – if you live in the Highlands this is important to all of you, no matter where you are, the effects will be felt MUCH further than just Sutton Forest. Alan Lindsay will be making a presentation on some of the main technical features of Humes plans.

The Carnival of Coal

If you follow our Facebook page you will have seen that the NSW Liberal Party Whip for some strange reason has decided that it’s appropriate to hold a ‘Carnival of Coal’ event to which he has invited his colleagues.  Apparently (and we can’t verify the veracity of this) his email includes the statement "I will be hosting a ‘Carnival of Coal’ at NSW Parliament House to declare support for coal and associated industries and to send a loud and clear message that action is needed now to protect a secure, inexpensive energy future.”  We think we need to send him a loud and clear message that this is inappropriate in the extreme, and shows a mind boggling lack of regard for current public opinion on this topic.  To save you the trouble of looking them up his contact details are:  

Telephone (02) 9230-3462

We will also be contacting our respective elected representatives to let them know that we do not think it appropriate that they attend this event – do feel free to join in!  

Sutton Forest Pub Fundraiser

And we’d love to see you next Sunday 2 August - we’re holding an impromptu fundraiser at the Sutton Forest pub


Thank you to those who have donated since our recent plea for help, the donations are trickling in but we do need a LOT more to keep funding the fight to protect landowners rights.  If you haven’t donated and would like to you can either post a donation to SHCAG, PO Box 3380, Exeter NSW 2579, or make a direct deposit to the SHCAG account, BSB 032-716 / Account 298603

Why didn't Hume Coal announce their rail project?

Events SHCAG - Thursday, July 23, 2015

A little document titled "Preliminary Environment Assessment - The Berrima Rail Project" just popped up on Hume Coal's website yesterday.  No fanfare, no press release ... You can download & read the full document on their site but here is a map from it that might be of interest! 

Posco why would you want to go ahead with this?

Events SHCAG - Wednesday, July 22, 2015

So we're wondering why on earth Posco would want to develop a speculative new coal mine in Sutton Forest - with all the associated environmental, community and financial issues in this context - and particularly when so many coking coal assets are for sale worldwide. Are the local management team merely looking after their own jobs with coal going out backwards worldwide?

Posco Returns to Steel Roots With 'Aggressive' Cutback ( 

Impromptu Fundraiser

Events SHCAG - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Put this date in your diary folks - and if you have any pre-loved books that you would like to donate drop off day is 27th Monday from 10am till 3pm, contact / 0428 254 966 for details on where. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE come along, show your support, buy some super warm handknits (just the weather for it), and a raffle ticket - we'll post details on the raffle a little later. Oh, and do share with all your local, and maybe not so local, friends. 

Bringing a mine on stream in this environment makes no sense!

Events SHCAG - Sunday, July 19, 2015

An article from yesterday's The Australian - Hume Coal/Posco’s plans to bring a high cost, low efficiency, highly damaging mine on stream in this environment make no sense at all.

BHP says coal price pain not over yet

BHP Billiton says coking coal ­prices that are languishing near 10-year lows are unlikely to rebound any time soon and that new Chinese import regulations are concerning, hurting demand for coking coal, the nation’s second-biggest export.

“I’m not really expecting you’re going to see a sharp recovery any time soon, given the amount of oversupply you see in the market and the fact seaborne import demand into China has ­tapered off,” he said.

Coking coal, used in steelmaking, has slumped from $US113 a tonne at the start of the year to about $US85.

BHP, through its Queensland mines, is the world’s biggest coking coal exporter.

Mr Henry said prices had fallen more than expected because of a 30 per cent drop in Chinese import demand, foreign exchange movements reducing costs in Russia and the extent of “take or pay” rail and port contracts (which can make it still economic to produce at prices below cash costs).

Chinese import demand is not only being hit by slowing steel mills. Regulations around fluorine content put in place in January for apparently environmental reasons were leading steel mills to choose domestic coal over imports because of uncertainty over how the regulations would be ­applied and the time taken to test coal, Mr Henry said.

No BHP shipments have been stopped, but the regulations were creating concern mainly because of the testing procedure in China.

“One problem is they don’t use the same testing standards that we use and the results on the Chinese side can be quite different from the results here — that creates uncertainty,” Mr Henry said.

“The other problem that gets created is the process there of testing and customs clearance can see shipments delayed by a month or two. If you’re sitting there, as a Chinese customer, that’s going to seem like a high degree of uncertainty and a lot of hard work, so you get biased to taking the easy route, which is domestic coal.”

Mr Henry believes the pain is far from over in the industry and that more mines will need to close to balance the market.

“Supply is proving relatively sticky, so any curtailment of supply is happening very, very slowly,” he said. “You can find high-cost production all over the place. But globally, in proportionate terms, more is coming by way of US exports than elsewhere.”

BHP closed two of its Queensland mines in 2012 because of high costs, but Mr Henry is now looking at ways to get more production on line, despite criticism from other producers about the amount of supply the company has brought on to the market.

“If you look at some of the stuff (iron ore boss) Jimmy Wilson has done back west, or that the coal business has done in recent years, in getting more production out of the same infrastructure and equipment, there is still room to go in coal, no doubt,” he said.

“I’m not a believer in the notion that holding back production is going to be beneficial for the business.”

What's been happening lately ...

Events SHCAG - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

There’s been a lot of activity recently so we thought we’d put some of it in one place for you. 

Hume Coal have finally released their mine plan – although it is somewhat lacking in detail – you can find the details on their website here - 

The Roche’s grandson Thomas started a petition Reassess Planned Coal Mines in The Southern Highlands – if it’s still open show your support by signing

The decision to conditionally approve the controversial Shenhua mine near the Liverpool Plains – prime agricultural land! – has certainly gotten a lot of attention.  You can sign the petition against this mine here. 

If you are a Sydney-sider, or just feel like a day trip why not go along to The Big Coal Picnic which you can find here on Facebook


And do feel free to let people in the government – that would be our elected representatives – know your thoughts.  Below are some contact details you might find useful. 

The Hon. Tony Abbott, MP, Prime Minister, Parliament House. CANBERRA ACT 2600 – Twitter TonyAbbottMHR
The Hon. Greg Hunt, MP, Minister for the Environment - - Parliament Office (02) 6277 7920 - Electorate Office (03) 5979 3188 - Twitter GregHuntMP - Facebook Greg Hunt MP
Mike Baird, NSW Premier, (02) 9976-2773,
Anthony Roberts, Minister for Resources & Energy, (02) 9817-4757,
Rob Stokes, Minister for Planning, (02) 9999-3599,


Impromptu Fundraiser – we’ve decided to have a fundraiser on Sunday 2 August from 10 am to 3 pm at the Sutton Forest Pub.  Buy a raffle ticket, some really fantastic hand knitted items (scarves, gloves etc. – just what we all need right now!), pick up a pre-loved book, or just come and have a chat! 

And in the news

Southern Highland News are currently running a poll asking whether you support Hume Coal’s mining plan in Sutton Forest – NO WE DO NOT!  Please add your voice/vote!

Mine plan causes water concerns – from the Southern Highland News following the release of the mine plan

Coal mining plans: Belanglo State Forest, Sutton Forest – the release of Hume Coal’s mining plans

ABC Illawarra’s article on Hume Coal’s release of the mining plan

From the Financial Review an article How Tony Abbot is in love with coal

Planning Department ‘misled’ Planning Assessment Committee from the Newcastle Herald


Global Fossil Fuel Economics

Events SHCAG - Wednesday, July 08, 2015

An interesting summary on the economics of the global fossil fuel industry ...

Here is the link to the article

NSW Government buys back AGL's PEL 2 Licence!

Events SHCAG - Tuesday, July 07, 2015

In case you missed this FANTASTIC news … the NSW Government is buying back AGL’s “PEL 2” licence, 6500 sq km that included the Illawarra & Southern Highlands – there will be NO CSG in this area!    

Communities from the Illawarra, Southern Highlands, south west Sydney and all the way up to the Central Coast are celebrating.  AND AGL not only announced they are abandoning this licence & selling it back to the government, they also announced the Hunter Valley CSG licences covering the Broke-Fordwich wine region will be cancelled.  AND scrapped plans to expand the Camden Gas project near homes in south west Sydney. 

The Southern Highlands is now completely clear of CSG as PEL 469 was taken from Leichhardt Resources last year. 

THANK YOU to everyone who signed petitions, phoned the Minister, send emails, participated in local events – everyone in each and every one of these communities salutes you!

(here's the link to the NSW Govt page)

Coalmine showdown - Channel 7

Events SHCAG - Wednesday, June 10, 2015
If you missed the news on Channel 7 last night here is the link to the report they aired. 

PRESS RELEASE - Landowners take Hume Coal back to court

Events SHCAG - Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Four landowners in Sutton Forest have taken Hume Coal to the Land and Environment Court claiming that Hume cannot get into their properties due to "significant improvements”. Under section 31(5) of the Mining Act, significant improvements provide the only ability for landowners in preventing mining companies accessing their properties. Significant improvements can include items such as stock-proof fences, formed roads and tracks, cropped or improved paddocks, within a 200 metre radius of dwellings and 50 metres around gardens.

In one case, the entire property is a 3 day equestrian eventing course of Olympic standard owned by Kathy and John Roche, that has been developed over the past 20 years. Kathy and John were recently named the NSW Eventing Volunteers of the Year. Kathy was a pharmacist in Moss Vale for many years and John the local doctor.

The hearing is set to start on September 14 and go for 5 days. A visit by the Court to the properties concerned will be held over the first two days. All the properties are neighbours along or near Golden Vale Road.

“This case is precedent setting” said Peter Martin. “It is the first time that a group of property owners have got together in NSW to challenge a mining company’s ability to access all of their properties for exploration because of the significant improvements. These properties are all highly developed and we contend that Hume Coal has no right under s31 to come on and drill holes given the inconvenience for landowners, disruption to day-to-day operations and potential significant damage to the properties concerned.”

The case follows the recent court action where SHCAG P/L took the Minister for Resources and Energy and Hume Coal to the Land and Environment Court challenging Hume’s latest approval to drill 25 more exploration holes in Sutton Forest. The result of that case is not yet known but the judgement is expected within 4 to 6 weeks. Many of the 25 holes were proposed to be drilled on the properties involved in the second legal case.

"This case came about because Hume is forcing all these landowners into arbitration against their will and then refuses to recognise significant improvements on these properties. Hume says that it can have its trucks, drill rigs and utes travelling back and forward through the properties at will as long as they don’t drill their holes in these locations. They also refuse to test this in court but challenge the landowners to do so which is a form of legal intimidation in our view. We think this is nonsense and is not the intent of the legislation." Peter Martin said.

For further information contact Peter Martin on 0418 800 111.