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Centennial Coal and Lithgow Council meet to “save jobs”

Centennial Coal and Lithgow Council meet to “save jobs”

Representatives from Centennial Coal and Lithgow’s Mayor and Deputy Mayor met on Tuesday to discuss the future of coal mining and power generation industries in the region.

Lithgow Council said the meeting was in “an effort to save jobs” during a tense time after a News Corp publication recently reported that there was now a “severe risk” of power cuts in NSW this summer due to uncertainty over the future of Springvale Mine.

Springvale is the sole supplier of coal to Mt Piper Power Station which in turn produces about 15 percent of the state’s electricity.

Plans to expand Springvale Mine were blocked in August by the NSW Court of Appeal.

The court ruled that the test the Planning Approval Commission used to determine the mine’s impact on Sydney’s water catchment was applied incorrectly, casting doubt over the colliery’s future operations.

The extension was originally approved in 2015.

The mine’s fate will not be fully known until further hearings in the Land and Environment Court are concluded.

“We acknowledge that Centennial Coal is doing everything it can in an extremely uncertain environment due to the recent decision of the NSW Court of Appeal that casts doubt over the future of the Springvale Mine,” Mayor Stephen Lesslie said.

“We are working with Centennial in an effort to achieve certainty of employment for local miners, notwithstanding that the solution and decision making rests with other tiers of government.”

Deputy Mayor Wayne McAndrew weighed in as he said the recent uncertainty over job losses and power cuts has occurred under watch of state and federal representatives Paul Toole and Andrew Gee.

“We can only hope that they are effectively conveying the community’s concerns and strongly arguing in support of the retention of the Mt Piper Power Station, the Springvale Coal Mine and local mining and power jobs” Cr McAndrew said.

Cr Lesslie said higher levels of government needed to act quickly to address the situation.

”It is beyond belief that the NSW Government can draft and pass legislation in three days to move homeless people from Martin place in Sydney, and yet unable to respond urgently to solve the issue facing Centennial Coal currently, that is projected to result in power failure and job losses in NSW this summer,” he said.

“Its not just local jobs… lets face it, last time we had ‘load shedding’ NSW industry had to reduce electricity consumption and productivity so that every day consumers would not be inconvenienced, in my mind, load shedding is another term for unemployment in industry.”

Council will also be seeking an urgent meeting with the NSW Premier.

Lithgow Mercury

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