NSW plant takes mine discharge for power production

Posted 29 June 2016

Cox RiverSydney's drinking water supply could soon be free of discharges from a Lithgow coal mine, with the salty releases set to be piped to the nearby Mount Piper Power Station for treatment.

Treated discharges from Springvale mine will now be used in the power station’s cooling tower system, under plans lodged with the state Department of Planning and Environment.

The plans would end the practice of the underground mine disposing of its salty treated water in Coxs river which runs into Sydney's water supply.

Local environmentalists have said it would be a "win-win" for the environment and operations at the power station and mine.

"We always believe that dumping polluted water into environment should always be the last resort," Lithgow Environment Group Vice-President Chris Jonkers told the ABC.

"It fulfils the requirement of [power station owner] EnergyAustralia's water access licence, which states that they must first take all available mine water before extracting any water from Coxs River,” Jonkers said.

"It would save Springvale having to treat this mine water to a higher standard before releasing into the Coxs River, so it's a win-win for EnergyAustralia, [mine owner] Centennial Coal and the environment."

The project would reportedly transfer up to 36 million litres of water a day from Springvale mine.

In October, the Planning Assessment Commission granted the mine a 13-year extension of its operating licence.