12 February 2016
Team of 28 ecologists to monitor and supervise approved vegetation clearing during February
Whitehaven will carry out further vegetation clearing at Maules Creek during February, consistent with the approved Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) for the site.
The BMP, which is approved by the NSW Department of Planning and the Environment (DP&E), provides a consolidated plan for the management of flora and fauna at Maules Creek, including the management and conservation of Whitehaven’s offset properties. This next phase of clearing is fully approved and will be conducted with the on site participation of the relevant NSW government authorities.
Like past clearing at the site, it will take place within a strict environmental management framework aided by a total of 28 ecologists who will monitor and supervise clearing activity to ensure compliance with the approved BMP.
Whitehaven Coal takes its environmental obligations very seriously and the company will continue to work closely with the DP&E to ensure compliance with its licence requirements and uphold the very high environmental standards that are set for mine operators in NSW more generally.
Regional Biodiversity Offset Strategy
The process to develop a Regional Biodiversity Offset Strategy and the implementation of the BMP for Maules Creek are entirely separate matters.
Clearing activity is managed under the BMP and has no relationship to what is essentially a process to develop a coordinated regional environmental strategy for offsetting responsibilities of the three contiguous mines.
The Regional Biodiversity Offset Strategy process is being coordinated by the NSW DP&E and environmental consultants appointed by the Department.
Whitehaven understands that Minister Hunt has been asked to determine whether a site referred to as Lawler’s Well has any Indigenous cultural significance.
Whitehaven is in the process of compiling information to assist Minister Hunt’s consideration of this claim.
This site is outside of the area of disturbance for clearance operations for the remainder of the year.
As with the previous questions of cultural heritage at Maules Creek, Whitehaven is working with Gomeroi Native Title Applicants and is committed to ensuring this claim is treated seriously and will be resolved before any clearance takes place near the site.
To date, Whitehaven have completed all cultural heritage work in accordance to the relevant legislation during both construction and operations of the Maules Creek Project.