Korean company planning Bylong Valley mine dismisses climate threat

(The Guardian, 6 Mar 2019) After Rocky Hill ruling, firm claims open-cut project in NSW will make ‘negligible contribution’ to global emissions.

The company behind a proposed coalmine in the Bylong Valley in New South Wales has claimed the project will make a “negligible contribution” to global climate change, in a fresh submission responding to the historic Rocky Hill judgment.

Kepco, the South Korean company that plans to develop an open-cut mine in the valley, has written to the state’s independent planning commission in light of the NSW land and environment court’s ruling in February that the Rocky Hill mine in Gloucester should not go ahead, in part because it was not compatible with efforts to combat climate change.

Activists and the legal firm that fought the case said the submission was an acknowledgement of how influential the decision could be on how fossil fuel projects are assessed in NSW.

As part of his judgment on Rocky Hill, chief judge Brian Preston ruled that emissions from the burning of coal in other countries should be considered when determining a project’s environmental impact.

In its 18-page submission, Kepco defended its Bylong Valley proposal by arguing that emissions from burning the coal overseas remained an accounting matter for South Korea under its Paris agreement targets, not for Australia.

It acknowledged that greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change but said “the direct emissions attributable to the project are small compared to GHG emissions on a national scale”.

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The Guardian, 6 Mar 2019: Korean company planning Bylong Valley mine dismisses climate threat