South Korean utilities company KEPCO will seek leave to appeal against the refusal of its Bylong Valley coal project in the High Court. 

Key points:

  • KEPCO’s coal project near Mudgee has been refused three times
  • The company will take the matter to the High Court
  • The Environmental Defenders Office will represent the local community

The underground and open-cut operation, 55 kilometres north-east of Mudgee, proposes to extract 6.5 million tonnes of coal a year for 25 years, and inject around $290 million into the state economy.

“KEPCO believes that the NSW Court of Appeal made errors in its decision and has filed a special leave application to the High Court seeking proper legal interpretation,” the company said in a statement.

The project was refused by the Independent Planning Commission in 2019, and subsequent appeals in the Land and Environment Court, and Court of Appeal were dismissed.

As of January 2018, the company had spent more than $700 million attempting to secure approval for the project.

The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) confirmed it would be fighting the appeal on behalf of the Bylong Valley Protection Alliance in the High Court.

“We’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with the community in the Bylong Valley for many, many years and we’re very disappointed that KEPCO has chosen to take the Bylong community back to court,” EDO managing lawyer Rana Koroglu said.

Ms Koroglu said it was “quite astounding” for KEPCO, which is majority owned by the South Korean government, to be pursuing its coal project on the eve of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

“At the same time [as going to Glasgow] they are still seeking approval for this coal mine, which would generate over 200 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.

“It seems like a huge contradiction.”

KEPCO to take Bylong Valley coal mine fight to High Court
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