Ironstone Community Action Group Inc v Minister for Planning & Duralie Coal Pty Ltd

November 2011

EDO NSW acted for the Ironstone Community Action Group (ICAG) in Class 1 merits appeal in the Land and Environment Court against the approval of Duralie Coal's extension project for an open cut coal mine between Stroud and Stratford in the Barrington Tops area. ICAG was concerned about the impact of the mine on water quality in the Mammy Johnsons River , the endangered Giant Barred Frog, dust impacts from the mine on human health, and impacts on biodiversity in the region.

This merits appeal was heard by Chief Justice Preston, with Acting Commissioner Smith, during an eight-day hearing held on 9-13 and 18 May, 27 June and 1 July 2011. The case was heard in Sydney , but the Court attended a site visit in Gloucester on Thursday, 12 May 2011, followed by the hearing of objector evidence in the Gloucester Court House that afternoon.

On 10 November 2011, Justice Preston upheld ICAG's appeal, but granted approval for the open cut coal mine, with substantially revised conditions. With regards to dust, his Honour declined to impose any specific criteria for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), but required Duralie to make public all management plans, studies and reports on its website to increase transparency and accountability. Duralie must also protect biodiversity offset areas in perpetuity by either entering into a conservation agreement under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 , or creating a public positive covenant over the land. The Court imposed a “no direct discharge” condition for water, and stronger monitoring requirements for the GBF. There are also a number of conditions that deal with dust and noise, which was a response to evidence submitted by residents during the hearing.

EDO NSW and ICAG are grateful to barrister Ashley Stafford who appeared for ICAG during the proceedings.

Judgment  - Final orders

Statement of Facts and Contentions Judgment