Mining company fails to convince

A SCHEME for pumped hydroelectricity following proposed coal exploration activity has been called a “green wash” to gain community support.

More than 200 residents attended a meeting in Mirboo North on Sunday to hear Mantle Mining managing director Ian Kraemer’s proposal for solar, pumped hydroelectricity in 2050 as it considers prospecting black coal.

It follows the State Government granting four coal exploration licences to the Western Australian mining company that covers close to 500 square kilometres across the Latrobe Valley and South Gippsland in June this year.

It includes the surrounds of Mirboo North, Callignee, Jeeralang and Carrajung.

Coal and CSG Free Mirboo North spokeswoman Marg Thomas said the community was sceptical of Mantle Mining’s proposal for pumped hydro electricity.

“The main focus (of the meeting) was the proposal about solar pumped hydro electricity so the community would come on board considering a transition to renewables,” Ms Thomas said.

“The sentiment in the room was that people could sense the contradiction in the whole proposal and Mantle wouldn’t extrapolate about coal mining activity.”

In an announcement, Mantle Mining said its long-term plan was to mine black coal seams for steel-making and once ‘mined out’, create underground reservoirs to hydraulically link to surface dams – including disused brown open-cut mines for pumper hydroelectricity.

“It’s contradictory, because in the meantime they’ve got to dig up the coal for export,” Ms Thomas said.

The Express has contacted Mantle Mining for comment.