Water regulator commences prosecution of mine at Maules Creek

Media release | 2 July 2020

The state’s independent water regulator has commenced prosecution in the Land and Environment Court of a mine operator at Maules Creek near Boggabri in the state’s north west.

The Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) is charging the Whitehaven Coal-owned Maules Creek Coal Pty Ltd with two alleged breaches of section 60A(2) of the Water Management Act 2000 for taking water without an access licence over a three-year period between 2016 and 2019, or in the alternative section 60C(2).

The alleged breaches relate to the failure to divert clean water from major streams on the site, instead capturing the water on the mine site.

The maximum penalty for a breach of section 60A(2) for a company is $2,002,000.

NRAR Chief Regulatory Officer Grant Barnes said the alleged failure to obtain licences for the water taken impacts on other water users and the environment – especially during severe drought.

“As this matter is now before the court, NRAR cannot comment further on the case.”

To see the work NRAR does, go to its public register on the NRAR website industry.nsw.gov.au/nrar. Go to ‘Reports and data’, then ‘NRAR Public Register’.

To make a confidential report on suspected water misuse, go to industry.nsw.gov.au/nrar or contact the NRAR Hotline on 1800 633 362 during business hours.