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Greater Blue Mountains Area

Australia
Factors affecting the property in 2001*
  • Mining
  • Surface water pollution
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2001
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2001**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 2001

Previous deliberations:
Twenty-fourth session of the Committee – paragraph X.A.1

Main issues: integrity questions.

New information: It has been reported to IUCN that a mining company, Centennial Coal, has lodged a development application with an environment impact statement for a major mining lease extension for the Clarence Colliery. The Clarence Colliery is located on Newnes Plateau that adjoins the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area to the east. The report received by IUCN notes three environmental concerns related to this proposal which are likely to directly affect the World Heritage values of the Greater Blue Mountains Area. These are:

  • Water pollution
  • Water conservation (loss of water to the mine pit)
  • Protection of the World Heritage area by an adequate buffer zone.
Action Required
The Bureau requests the State Party to provide information on the reported lease extension for the Clarence Colliery and its potential impacts on the World Heritage values, before 15 September 2001, so as to enable the twenty-fifth extraordinary session of the Bureau to assess the potential threats to the integrity of the site
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2001

In response to the Bureau’s request for further information on the proposed Clarence Colliery mine extension before 15 September 2001, the State Party, via letter dated 14 September 2001, submitted up-to-date information to the Centre. The Australian Government has examined the referral from the company regarding the possible extension of the Clarence Colliery mining lease and determined that additional information is required on water emissions from the mine. Current mine de-watering emissions have been determined by the New South Wales Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to exceed statutory water quality standards and have been causing pollution problems in the Wollangambe River, which flows through the World Heritage Area. The company and the EPA have agreed to a plan for a trial water transfer system that if successful, would result in the cessation of mine de-watering emissions to the Wollangambe River. A decision by the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Heritage on the referral on the proposed expansion of the Clarence Colliery mining lease has been deferred until after the establishment of the trial water transfer system. It is anticipated that a decision will be made on the referral by mid-2002. 

The Bureau may wish to note with satisfaction the actions taken and the information provided by the State Party and request a status report from the State Party for submission at the twenty-sixth session of the Bureau in April 2002. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2001
25 BUR V.113-115
Greater Blue Mountains Area (Australia)

V.113     It has been reported to IUCN that a mining company, Centennial Coal, has lodged a development application with an environment impact statement for a major mining lease extension for the Clarence Colliery. The Clarence Colliery is located on Newnes Plateau that adjoins the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area to the east. The report received by IUCN notes three environmental concerns related to this proposal which are likely to directly affect the World Heritage values of the Greater Blue Mountains Area. These are: water pollution, water conservation (loss of water to the mine pit) and the protection of the World Heritage area by an adequate buffer zone.

V.114     The Delegate of Australia informed the Bureau that the proposed mining lease had been referred to the Australian Government under the World Heritage protection regime of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Protection Act.  It would assess any potential significant impacts on World Heritage values before any project approval could be given.

V.115     The Bureau requested the State Party to provide information on the reported lease extension for the Clarence Colliery and its potential impacts on the World Heritage values, before 15 September 2001, to enable the twenty-fifth extraordinary session of the Bureau to assess the potential threats to the integrity of the site.

No draft Decision

Report year: 2001
Australia
Date of Inscription: 2000
Category: Natural
Criteria: (ix)(x)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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