Whitehaven Coal clarifies confusion over Vickery EIS announcement

HOSED DOWNS: Whitehaven Coal has denied claims it turned farmers away from a meeting in Gunnedah yesterday. Photo: File photo
HOSED DOWNS: Whitehaven Coal has denied claims it turned farmers away from a meeting in Gunnedah yesterday. Photo: File photo

WHITEHAVEN Coal has denied claims it turned away farmers from a meeting surrounding the proposed Vickery Mine extension.

The meeting was held at the company’s Gunnedah office on Thursday and was used to officially release the project’s environmental impact statement.

However, following a tweet from ABC New England North West breakfast host Kelly Fuller, confusion surrounded the meeting as local farmers looked to take part.

Whitehaven Coal executive general manager of corporate and external affairs, Michael van Maanen said the meeting was never advertised as being for the public.

“The meeting at our Gunnedah Office on Thursday was only ever a background briefing for members of the media to help them better understand the Vickery Project,” Mr van Maanen said.

“It’s unfortunate the ABC characterised it as something else and that this inconvenienced or confused some people.

“I am glad the ABC has since apologised for this genuine mistake.”

ON DISPLAY: Whitehaven Coal CEO Paul Flynn helps launch the project's Environmental Impact Statement on Thursday. Photo: Billy Jupp

ON DISPLAY: Whitehaven Coal CEO Paul Flynn helps launch the project's Environmental Impact Statement on Thursday. Photo: Billy Jupp

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Mr van Maanen said the company was eager to consult with locals regarding the proposed project.

“We’re always happy talking to locals about any of our projects and operations,” he said.

“Already, we have had over 400 interactions with community members (including farmers) about the Vickery Extension Project and community consultation will continue to underpin the process.

“If anyone in the community has a question about Vickery they can visit our new Vickery website –www.vickery.com.au.  

“Or they can drop in to our Gunnedah Office or call our toll-free community information line, 1800-WHCOAL.”

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