Southern Highlands Coal Action Group v Minister For Planning & Infrastructure & Boral Cement Limited

February 2013

Approval overturned of coal mine expansion in Sydney’s water catchment

The Land and Environment Court has refused, with the consent of the parties, the State Government’s approval of an expansion of Boral Cement’s coal mine near Berrima in Sydney’s drinking water catchment. 

EDO NSW, representing the Southern Highlands Coal Action Group, appeared before the Court and obtained final orders by consent with Boral, for the refusal of the NSW Government’s 2012 approval of the Berrima (Medway) Colliery.

The case had been due to go back to the NSW Land and Environment Court for a retrial of the original challenge to the project’s approval by the community group. However, Boral announced on July 1, 2014, that it would be permanently closing the Berrima (Medway) Colliery.

The original approval would have given Boral the authority to double its coal output from the Berrima Colliery to 440,000 tonnes per year, and continue its operations until 2020. The community group successfully appealed the decision because of concerns about the impacts on groundwater and biodiversity, and the Wingecarribee River in Sydney's drinking water catchment. Read the judgment

However, the community group then lost an appeal by Boral and the NSW Government against that decision, and so the matter was sent back to Court for a rehearing of the original case.

The final orders granted by the Court reinstates the community group’s original successful challenge to the mine expansion and bring the case to a close. The parties and the Senior Commissioner agreed that there was no utility in continuing the court case as Boral has indicated the mine will close.

Read more about the original case and the appeal on our website. EDO NSW is grateful to barristers Mr Nick Eastman and Ms Natasha Hammond-Deakin (former EDO NSW Senior Solicitor) for their assistance with this matter.

Judgment Appeal