Community relations hit sticky patch at Wallarah 2

Thursday, 27 March, 2014

A very quick article here that draws attention to an unfortunate example of how things can go wrong when the community relations process doesn’t run smoothly. As reported on Mining Australia, The Wallarah 2 coal mine has rejected the Darkinjung Local Land Council's opposition to the mine as a 'cash grab,' and bad relations seem to be playing out acrimoniously and very publicly. It’s an unfortunate balance to some of the more positive case studies we’ve been reporting of late

In the words of the article:

“Earlier this week the Darkinjung Land Council slammed the mine's application as 'invalid',according to the ABC. Sean Gordon, the group's CEO, said the miner's proposed rail spur runs over native land, and refused to give permission to its operation. "I think it is quite risky for minister Hazzard to be continuing with this project knowing that it is operating without any jurisdiction over our land," he told the ABC.

The land in question measures around 1750 metres by 40 metres. The group has gone on to demand $300 million in compensation for access, or approximately$2/tonne for the life of the mine.

Wallarah 2 has slammed the recent move, stating that it has "had ongoing discussions with Darkinjung for many years regarding compensation for accessing Darkinjung land to build a rail spur connecting the existing railway line in order to transport coal to the port of Newcastle".

"Wallarah 2 has offered Darkinjung a generous compensation package, including cash compensation, support for a proposed training centre, apprenticeships for local Aboriginals and tertiary scholarships over the life of the proposed mine," it said in a company statement. It went on to say the new $300 million claim for the land "equates to $30 million per hectare, or $170 000 in land access fees for every lineal metre of railway track built across Darkinjung land".

"This demand amounts to extortion.””