Shenhua coal mine could impact on groundwater

Greg Hunt.
Greg Hunt.

THE controversial Shenhua coal mine on New South Wales' Liverpool Plains could impact the region's groundwater, an expert has claimed.

University of NSW Water Research Laboratory's Doug Anderson told the ABC the mine was not risk free.

"I like to think of groundwater modelling as an impressionist painting," he said. "It looks really good at a distance, but when I get up close and look at it I see all the broad brush strokes and all the imperfections."

The comments came weeks after Environment Minister Greg Hunt said he would consult the Independent Expert Scientific Committee again and publicly report its findings.

In a fiery attitude with 2GB's Alan Jones, Mr Hunt said: "If they (the committee) are not satisfied I won't even approve that.

"And that's something which is above and beyond, to the best of my knowledge, anything that has happened in Australian environmental history."

The Federal Government recently gave conditional approval for the Chinese government-owned Shenhua Watermark to build the mine.

The approval caused immediate controversy, with Agriculture Minister Barnaby Jones expressing his dismay.

Shenhua says the mine has been placed to avoid the region's best farming soils, but its potential impact on groundwater has concerned farmers and environmentalists.

Topics:  coal mining environment groundwater

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