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Enforceable undertakings

Boggabri Coal Operations Pty Ltd


Boggabri Coal Operations Pty Ltd (BCOPL) operates the Boggabri Coal Mine about 15km north-east of Boggabri in the Gunnedah Basin of NSW.

In September 2021, after receiving a complaint, NRAR became concerned that the company had allegedly unlawfully impounded surface water within the mine site from 2019 to 2020.

The water came from the Bluevale Water Source - an unregulated water source within Namoi Water Sharing Plan region.

On 16 December 2021, during an inspection of the mine site by NRAR investigators, evidence was collected to show that the company had allegedly been capturing surface water in temporary and permanent storages.

BCOPL held groundwater licences, a surface water licence for some of its surface water take and were exempt from needing a licence for another portion of its surface water take because harvestable rights applied. However, it did require a surface water access licence to take water from an unregulated water source to collect water as it moved across the site.

The alleged offence

The mine operators allegedly took surface water for which it did not hold a licence and collected it in temporary and permanent storages between early 2019 and April 2022.  This would constitute a breach of section 60A(2) of the Water Management Act 2000.

The undertaking

NRAR entered into an enforceable undertaking with Boggabri Coal Operations Pty Ltd on June 15, 2023. The company acknowledged the alleged contravention and undertakes to carry out the commitments and preventative measures set out in this undertaking.

Under the conditions of the EU, the mine owners will have to:

  • install new water meters which automatically record water-use data
  • purchase new software and implement an improved water balance modelling program
  • report to NRAR on surface water take four times a year until 2027
  • pay more than $54,000 to compensate for surface water taken unlawfully and a further $15,000 to cover NRAR's investigation costs
  • contribute $10,000 to a community project with a water management focus in the local area
  • undertake consultation with the local indigenous community about the impact of past and future water take and where practical and reasonable, assist in promoting and protecting cultural values and practices in the area affected by its mining operations.