Jul 20 2015
A coal pile is smouldering at the Boggabri coal mine, Maules Creek, 90 kilometres north west of Tamworth.
The Idemitsu Resources mine operates inside the Leard State Forest, a critically endangered white box woodland, and is adjacent to Whitehaven’s controversial Maules Creek coal mine.
Community members observed the spontaneous combustion from a vantage point inside the forest when they were 4-wheel driving.
“There was a steady stream of smoke from several places in the stockpile at the Japanese-owned Idemitsu mine,” said Pat Schultz, who conducts the Leard and Pilliga Forest Tours.
The fires were reported immediately to the NSW EPA which advised the community that Boggabri Coal management had been notified and an investigation initiated.
“Over 48 hours later the fires are still going, and no visible action by the company to quell them even though there is a full dam of water adjacent to the coal piles,” said Ms Schultz. “In fact there wasn’t a worker in sight.”
“If this is happening in mid-winter, with recent rain, obviously it shows what a risk open cut coal mines are. After the Hazelwood mine fire in Victoria, which burned heavily for weeks, one would expect the mine to be taking these fires seriously.”