Information sessions coming on Menangle mine ventilation project

Plans: A drawing of the proposed site area in the submissions report for the modification request. Picture: South32

Plans: A drawing of the proposed site area in the submissions report for the modification request. Picture: South32

South32 has confirmed it is committed to working with the Menangle community following the release of the submissions report for its Appin Mine Ventilation and Access Project.

The company will hold community information sessions this month to ensure locals are fully across the project.

"We have submitted plans to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment seeking a modification to the existing Bulli Seam Operations Project Approval for two ventilation shafts and mine access facilities in Menangle," a South32 spokesman said.

"The proposed mine ventilation infrastructure is important for continued safe underground operations, in an approved area of our Appin Mine, and will support significant ongoing local employment and investment.

"We currently employ approximately 1800 people, most of whom live locally."

Illawarra Coal Community Committee member Sam Davis said many residents in Menangle were unaware of the project.

"Only 15 public submissions were received on this huge industrial project being slapped on RU2 zoning," he said.

"South32's consultation timeframe took place while greater Sydney has been on lockdown for the past 15 weeks. Residents could not talk together about the project.

"Menangle Advisory Panel strongly opposes the project."

Mr Davis cited increased traffic, construction and operational noise and air pollution as some of his concerns regarding the project.

The South32 spokesman said the company valued the feedback of locals.

"We first publicised details of the [project] in September 2020 and began extensive, ongoing community consultation," he said.

"We value this process and take it seriously, and we are listening to and responding to feedback.

"To date, our consultation has included regular community advisory panel meetings.

"This is a public forum for local community representatives to discuss the project in detail and share their feedback with us directly.

"Prior to the current COVID-19 outbreak, we visited homes in the local area to discuss the project in-person. When COVID-19 restrictions prevented visits we held online meetings with residents.

"We are planning a number of additional community meetings later this month in Menangle to further discuss the project. We have also published detailed factsheets, letters to residents and a project website, and engaged with relevant local authorities to outline details of our plan."

Mr Davis however was not impressed with the project and said he believed the project's exhaust would "pollute our air and ruin our lifestyles".

"We just don't think this location is suitable," he said.

"We basically live in a bowl down here so air pollution is already an issue for us."

The spokesman said the Menangle location was chosen following internal assessments and considered factors like geology, land availability and underground constraints.

Information in the submissions report notes the colocation of ventilation infrastructure and mine access "will reduce the overall development footprint compared with two facilities at separate sites".

Information sessions will be held at Menangle Rural Fire Service station (90 Menangle Road, Menangle) where locals can learn more about the project and share their feedback with South32.

- Friday, October 22, 2pm-5.30pm

- Saturday, October 23, 10am-4pm

- Thursday, October 28, 4pm-7pm

Pre-registration is required to ensure correct health protocols are in place. To register, email illawarracommunity@south32.net, or call 1800 102 210.

This story Information sessions coming on Menangle mine ventilation project first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.