The Guardian • Issue #2077


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2077

Climate action group Lock the Gate Alliance has accused the NSW Minns government of breaking an election promise by allowing BHP’s planned Mt Arthur expansion to be determined behind closed doors rather than referring it to the Independent Planning Commission. Without this expansion, BHP’s approval to mine coal at Mt Arthur would expire on 30 June 2026. Mt Arthur expansion at a glance: 25 million of thermal coal to be mined each year until 2030; 193 million tonnes of GHG in total; two open cut pit voids left unrehabilitated. In the lead-up to this year’s state election, NSW Labor promised that “new coal mine projects must be subject to an independent approval process”. However, because BHP’s expansion of the largest coal mine in NSW has been arbitrarily designated as a “modification,” the project is undergoing internal government assessment only. Lock the Gate Alliance NSW coordinator Nic Clyde said, “The Planning Department should not be making a decision that would extend the biggest coal mine in NSW for another four years behind closed doors. The loophole which allows these big coal expansions to be arbitrarily treated as modifications needs to be amended, so that they are subject to proper independent assessment. The community has a huge interest in this project, both in terms of the damaged landscape BHP will leave behind, and in terms of the greenhouse gas emissions from four more years of mining.” BHP plans to leave behind several unfilled coal pits that will gradually fill with salty water and will remain as a permanent hazard in the Hunter landscape long after BHP has wiped its hands clean of the project. There are at least ten new coal projects working their way through various stages of the NSW assessment process. Collectively, emissions from these projects would total more than two billion tonnes.


At the time of writing this, the Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza Strip has seen 7028 Palestinians killed with 66 per cent of these being women and children. More than 1600 Palestinians, including 900 children, have been reported missing and are presumed to be trapped or dead under the rubble. Some 1.4 million people have been forcibly displaced, mass graves are already full, and the UN has reported that there are not enough body-bags in Gaza for the dead. At least 45 per cent of all housing units in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or damaged since the start of the attack. Public buildings including schools, mosques, and hospitals have been targeted including the al-Ahli hospital where more than 500 Palestinians were killed. Israel has sealed the Gaza Strip completely, and cut off all electricity, food, water, and fuel from a population of which almost half are children. Vital services, including health and sanitation, are being pushed towards collapse. Hospitals are losing power, some have already been forced to close and clean water is running out. The Rafah crossing from Egypt into Gaza has been opened intermittently and in the past few days allowed 74 trucks of aid through, however Israel has refused to allow fuel to be sent in for generators. This is about 4 per cent of the daily imports into Gaza prior to the current Israeli crimes.

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