Plans to block urban mining

LATROBE City council will attempt to thwart any move initiated by the State Government to mine in proximity to residential areas.

The government’s recent confirmation of a long-term strategy to develop Victoria’s brown coal reserves has led a Latrobe City councillor Graeme Middlemiss to “preempt any move” to mine close to any residential areas.

“We have a chance to avoid the mistakes of the past and ensure the livability of our towns is not compromised,” Cr Middlemiss said.

“There’s unlimited amount of coal available (outside urban fringes) without upsetting our towns.”

Cr Middlemiss’ move to write to the State Government urging it to obviate the need to mine close to established urban areas was unanimously accepted at a council meeting on Monday.

Cr Middlemiss referred to Clean Coal Victoria’s LV2100 Coal Resources Project which ranked areas north east and west of Loy Yang mine as ‘rank one’ in its potential coal ranking preference.

Areas north of Morwell’s township and north west of Hazelwood mine were ranked number two.

He added CCV briefed council one hour prior to Monday’s council meeting on the State Government’s upcoming Coal Action (Strategic) Plan.

Areas ranked in the LV2100 project were referred to as “the low hanging fruit” by Cr Middlemiss, who said “given the existence” of the LV2100 Highly Rated Coal Areas map, it was “the easiest available coal”.

However, Cr Middlemiss said the Valley was placed “in a lucky position”, suggesting the State Government could take advantage of an abundance of brown coal present outside urban fringes, for export schemes and low-emission power projects.

Last month the State Government confirmed it would tender for new brown coal allocations in the Valley, as part of its Coal Action (Strategic) Plan to be released June next year.

Clean Coal Victoria director Charlie Speirs informed The Express while the government organisation did give council a “general overview” of its brown coal road map, it was still “a work in progress”.

He also confirmed all mining plans currently being developed for the government were “clear of all current towns”.

“The LV2100 plan released in 2005 made recommendations but was never implemented,” Mr Speirs said.

“It was prepared in the past and reviewed by CCV and a strategic plan is being developed from that review… but we’re still not finished.”