Australia blocks ‘unacceptable’ South Korean coal mine

Sydney, Sept 18 (AFP/APP):An Australian planning watchdog on Wednesday blocked the development of a large South Korean-owned coal mine, citing concerns about long-lasting “environmental impacts” that would hurt future generations.

Korean electricity giant KEPCO proposed the mine for New South Wales’ Bylong Valley — a four-hour drive northwest of Sydney — promising more than 2,000 jobs and an Aus$300 million (US$205 million) boost to the economy.

The project was slated to produce 120 million tonnes of coal over the next 25 years, the latest large-scale coal project in Australia — a leading global exporter.

But New South Wales’ Independent Planning Commission struck the project down, saying the impact on groundwater was “unacceptable” and that there was no evidence supporting KEPCO’s environmental rehabilitation claims.

The Korea Electric Power Corporation is by far the country’s largest electric utility.
The watchdog said that it was unfair for current generations to reap the benefits of a project that would leave the environmental costs to be “borne by the future generations.”

The commission added that “greenhouse gas aspects” of the burning of coal “remain problematic”.

It was not immediately clear if KEPCO would appeal the decision.

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