Pollution of Royal National Park leads to prosecution of Peabody Metropolitan Colliery


Peabody Metropolitan Colliery is facing up to $5 Million in fines following two major pollution incidents of Camp Gully Creek and the Hacking River in the Royal National Park. The Environment Protection Authority is taking the coal operator to the Land and Environment Court for failing to comply with their operating conditions resulting in contaminated water flooding the oldest National Park in NSW twice in 2022.

Greens MP and spokesperson for the environment Sue Higginson said: “The investigation undertaken by the EPA has established that Peabody Metropolitan Colliery have failed to maintain adequate water management at the coal mine and then failed again to address the issue after the first incident.

“The damage that has been caused by the Metro Coal Mine to the Royal National Park is distressing and is worth far more than the potential maximum fine of $5 Million. I visited the Royal National Park when the pollution was occurring and what I saw was disgraceful. We had coal sludge flowing into the waterways of a National Park. The consequences of this should be proportional to the damage caused - what Peabody has done to the Royal National Park is far worse than the few millions dollars they may have to pay in fines. 

“In the first quarter of this year Peabody generated revenue of $1.36 USD Billion. The potentially permanent damage to the Royal National Park caused by this pollution will only cost Peabody less than half a percent from a quarter of their annual profits.

“Fines only act as a deterrent if the cost of the fine is worth more than the profit generated by the crime. For a multi-billion dollar entity like Peabody, a $5 Million fine does nothing to discourage future breaches and will be incorporated into the ongoing and future operating costs of the mine. The Metropolitan Colliery has proven that they cannot manage contaminated water on the site and it is inevitable that future pollution of the Royal National Park will occur. 

“We have reached the point where Peabody Energy and the Metropolitan Coal Mine should have their Environment Protection Licence pulled to ensure that the Royal National Park is not threatened with future spills of toxic and contaminated water. The Royal National Park is too valuable to continue to be put at risk from this old coal mine that can not guarantee safe operation. We cannot allow this situation to happen again. The EPA needs to prioritise the health of the environment over the operation of mining giant Peabody Coal,” Ms Higginson said.

For media contact call:
Sue Higginson 0428 227 363 or
Dan Reid 0421 926 233