The company behind a proposed central-west New South Wales gold mine says its impact on the environment and downstream users will be “imperceptible” in most cases.
Regis Resources has responded to 671 submissions lodged on its proposal for an open cut mine on farmland, at Kings Plains, north-east of Blayney.
Many of these submissions raised concerns about how the mine could affect surface and groundwater in the region.
In its response, Regis said the mine had been designed to use minimal water, and therefore “the physical impacts on the environment and downstream users will be minor, and in most cases, imperceptible”.
Mine owner confident community fears mitigated
Regis will build a 90-kilometre pipeline from Lithgow which will pump surplus water from two coal mines and a power station.
It will also capture rainwater in dams on the property and use groundwater bores.
“[The amount] varies depending on rainfall,” the Manager of Special Projects, Tony McPaul said.
The NSW Environment Protection Agency had raised concerns the tailings storage dam posed a risk to groundwater, but Mr McPaul was confident works to prevent contamination will be effective.
“If there is any seepage it’ll be very minimal, and it’ll be picked up by our seepage interception drains and bores downstream of the tailings dam wall,” he said.
The company has also moved the entrance to the mine further east and made mine schedule adjustments to reduce noise.
There are no changes to mining methods, operating hours, extraction rates, job numbers or rehabilitation plans.
Mr McPaul said he was hopeful the final decision on the project will be made by the Independent Planning Commission early next year, with an outcome by the end of April 2021.
The ABC has contacted residents who lodged objections to the proposed mine.
The Belubula Headwaters Protection Group said it had received the Response to Submissions and would read the various documents.
It said it was interested to see if any of its issues had been resolved.