Wollar Progress Association is calling on the NSW Government to carefully consider the viability of the operations at Peabody Wilpinjong Mine near Mudgee in light of Peabody filing for bankruptcy in America yesterday, saying the proposed expansion will sacrifice the once vibrant Wollar community at a time when the world is turning away from coal.

“It would be madness for the NSW government to continue the approval process for a fallen international coal giant like Peabody,” said Ms Bev Smiles, Secretary of the Wollar Progress Association.

“A big question mark hangs over the capacity of Peabody to continue operating in Australia, and there is a strong likelihood that operations here will be disrupted.

“The NSW Government should put an immediate halt to the planning process for the Wilpinjong Mine expansion and call in the $58 million rehabilitation bond to help clean up the mess created by the open cut coal mine.

“This will help give certainty to the community and workers employed at the mine.

“The sacrifice of a once thriving rural community like Wollar for a project run by a bankrupt coal company fails to make a skerrick of sense.

“Expanding Wilpinjong Mine to within 1.5km of Wollar village will be the last straw for the community, foisting on people increased noise and dust that will take a toll on their health.

“The sharp fall in coal prices has left Peabody unable to support its debt-fueled expansion into Australia.

“The job of the NSW government is not to push through another mine expansion, but ensure a stable transition to a new economy, while ensuring Peabody cares for existing workers and cleans up the mess it created through its mining operations,” Ms Smiles said.