Many Society members have visited beautiful Mount Airly, near Capertee. With its magnificent
pagodas and golden cliffs, it is unique. It is the most spectacular
pagoda country in NSW and should be protected in a National Park.
In 1993 Novacoal, a subsidiary of CRA, was granted a mining lease on Airly. Novacoal claimed to have orders for Airly coal and that it would employ men from Western Main mine. It did neither. The lease was sold to Centennial Coal Company Limited in 1997. A condition of the lease was that work should start within five years of the granting of the lease (before the end of April 1998).
In March 1998 we were advised that Centennial Coal Company Limited would start production on a trial mine at Airly, intending to mine 300,000 tonnes of coal to be transported by road to the power stations.
Now Centennial Coal has made an application to extend the trial mine period from 1 year to 5 years, including an increase in the quantity of coal hauled by road from 300,000 to 500,000 tonnes per annum.
At no time has it been economically viable to mine Airly coal. Centennial Coal started a "trial mine" so that it could retain the lease. Now the company wants an extension of another five years.
The Society has made a submission requesting that the application be refused. Airly must become part of the Gardens of Stone National Park. Members can write to Development and Infrastructure Assessment Branch, Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, GPO Box 3927, Sydney 2001, and to the Environment Minister, Ms Carmel Tebbutt MP, 244 Illawarra Road, MARRICKVILLE NSW 2204
Ruins at Mt Airly
|Beautiful Airly, near Capertee, with its magnificent pagodas and golden cliffs, is unique. It is the most spectacular pagoda country in the State and should be protected in a National Park and be part of our World Heritage area. It is also an important part of our early mining history, with relics of kerosene shale mining which was carried out on a smaller scale than at Newnes and at an earlier time. But it is not protected - a mining lease is held by Centennial Coal Company Limited. A condition of this lease was that work should start within five years of the granting of the lease (before the end of April 1998).We have recently been advised that Centennial Coal Company Limited intends to start production on a trial mine at Airly in the next few months. The company intends to mine 300,000 tonnes of coal to be transported by road to the power station. It is not economic to mine coal at Airly. At the present time, coal mining in the Lithgow area is being scaled down, and men are being sacked from viable mines. It is obvious that because of the 5-year clause in the lease Centennial Coal Company Limited is going into Airly at this time to make a mess of the area so that they can retain the lease. It is vandalism to destroy Airly.||
What damage does Coal Seam Extraction Do?
This photograph was taken at Hassan's Walls near Lithgow and shows the damage
caused to rock strata by the underground extraction of coal.
This area used to include many walking tracks, but they have all now been
closed and the area signposted with "Enter at Your
Own Risk" signs. Cracks in the rock can be large enough for a person to fall into, and
dozens or hundreds of metres deep.
We cannot allow this to happen at Airly!
Cracks in the rock caused by underground coal mining