Mine plan’s rail load revealed

A $1 BILLION coalmine would transport about 100,000 tonnes of coal a week from Wyee to Newcastle along the main train line.

The Wallarah 2 mine plan would extend gate closures at level crossings in Adamstown and Islington, a report from the mine’s proponent, Kores, said.

In the report to the NSW Department of Planning, Kores said coal would be transported on up to six return train trips a day on six days a week.

Wallarah 2 project manager Kenny Barry said that would occur on rare occasions, with four to five return train trips a day being the average.

Mr Barry said each train heading to Newcastle Port would carry almost 4000tonnes of coal in 38 wagons – about 18,500 tonnes of coal a day.

‘‘There’s been a lot of talk about dust related to coal trains and whether wagons should be covered,’’ he said.

‘‘If that ever becomes a requirement, we would abide by that.’’

Community lobby group The Australian Coal Alliance said the Kores plan would affect people living along the line to the Port of Newcastle, including areas such as Morisset, Wyee and Cardiff.

‘‘You’ll have coal trains rumbling up there for the next 30 years, with all the dust and noise problems that creates,’’ alliance spokesman Mike Campbell said.

Kores, which the South Korean government owns, plans to extract up to five million tonnes of coal a year from the mine over 28 years – much of it for export.

The Kores report said the mine would affect level crossings at St James Road, Adamstown and Clyde Street, Islington. It said 56 minutes a day would be added to closures at each level crossing, based on five return trips a day for 320 days a year.

The majority of the train trips would occur in ‘‘the evening and very early morning’’, away from peak traffic.

The St James Road crossing would be closed for 488minutes a day (about a third of a day), while the Clyde Street crossing would be closed for 519minutes a day.

Those figures represented ‘‘cumulative closures’’, which involved coal trains from various projects.

NSW Energy Minister Chris Hartcher said: ‘‘If the mine does go ahead, we would expect arrangements to be made to ensure there isn’t undue inconvenience for Hunter residents.’’

The Kores report said state transport agencies had ‘‘detailed proposals’’ to reduce and manage road-traffic delays at the crossings.

Mr Campbell was concerned the Coalition was preparing to backflip and support the mine, but Mr Hartcher said: ‘‘The mine will not go ahead unless the water catchment is fully protected.’’

The planning department will accept public comment on the Kores mine plan until June21.

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