Backs-to the wall plan to bury mining tyres gets the go ahead
Aboriginal land council approves plan to bury hundreds of tyres a year
A northern New South Wales local Aboriginal land council has said it had little choice but to approve a plan to bury hundreds of tyres a year at Maules Creek coal mine.
Whitehaven Coal (WHC) applied to get rid of 400 heavy-duty tyres per year onsite, arguing there are no "feasible or viable" recycling options available.
In a letter to the company last month, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) said the plan affects land owned by a local Aboriginal land council, and WHC needed consent from the group.
The Red Chief Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) manages a travelling stock route that cuts through the site.
In a statement, Red Chief's chief executive, Lisa Burges, said the council did not have much room to affect the application.
"Red Chief are not in a position to veto or prevent the modification, and accordingly it was passed by the board after much debate," she said.
"The practice of burying tyres is not something Red Chief members and board fully support and is certainly an emotive and divisive issue."
Ms Burges said the LALC was told burying tyres was the only option available to the mine.
"NSWALC contacted the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) seeking advice on environmental concerns about the burying of tyres and were advised that currently it is an acceptable practice by the EPA and DPIE, until a viable alternative can be sought."
In a document responding to the company's proposal, the EPA acknowledged there were "barriers" to recycling end-of-life tyres.
It recommended a suite of licence conditions like those applied to WHC's Tarrawonga and Werris Creek mines, where the practice had already been approved.
WHC's licence allows it to bury 150 heavy plant tyres a year at its Werris Creek mine, and 441 tonnes of tyres at its Tarrawonga mine – equivalent in weight to about 300 mid-size cars per year.
The EPA mandates that WHC needs to provide a report every two years, which proves it tried to find recycling options in NSW, and a cost-benefit analysis of recycling tyres, as opposed to burying them onsite.
The application is still under review by the DPIE.
Source: Mining World News