Gippsland South Danny O'Brien coal mines pit lakes LVRRS Water Irrigation latrobe valley coal mines latrobe valler Latrobe River

Clear as mud: still questions on mine rehab

The Andrews Labor Government has failed to answer key questions about rehabilitation of Latrobe Valley coal mines and potential impacts on Latrobe River water users.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said the Latrobe Valley Regional Rehabilitation Strategy (LVRRS) released today fails to explain to the Gippsland community how the mines will be rehabilitated.

“Currently the Latrobe Valley mine operators are all looking at creating pit lakes by filling their disused mines with water.

“Engie, the owner of Hazelwood, is planning to start filling their mine in January next year, just six months away. The government’s new Strategy still doesn’t clear up if that will be allowed and if so, where the water will come from.

“I’m pleased to see that the Strategy does acknowledge the need for serious consideration of alternative rehabilitation strategies to pit lakes and the need to revisit the prospect of recycled or desalinated water being used to fill the mines to keep them stable.

“Clearly taking water from the Latrobe River to fill three mines over the next several decades is not going to be feasible when the equivalent of six Sydney Harbours is needed to do the job.

“The government needs to be clear very soon with the Gippsland community on what it will actually approve when it comes to mine rehabilitation.

“The Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry and Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner both indicated that pit lakes are the only real option, but I’ve been calling for serious consideration of alternatives for some time.

“The Strategy now indicates the government will do that, but it’s getting very late in the piece.  The government needs to tell the people of the Latrobe Valley, our power station and mine operators and Latrobe River users downstream what exactly it will allow in terms of mine rehabilitation.

“I acknowledge this is a very difficult problem to juggle the competing water interests with the geophysical challenge of stabilising the mines, but I think the government should be clearer with the people of Gippsland.”

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien, says the state government has provided no clarity on how Latrobe Valley coal mines will be rehabilitated.

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