Councillors blamed for Boral mine loss

File picture.

File picture.

A lack of support from Wingecarribee Shire Council councillors is to blame for more than 30 jobs being lost at Boral’s Medway mine, according to councillor and Boral employee Graham McLaughlin.

Cr McLaughlin took aim at fellow councillors after Boral announced last week it would end mining operations at Berrima Colliery.

However, Cr Larry Whipper said Cr McLaughlin’s comments were ‘‘a little naive, simplistic and designed to offload the responsibilities that belong to Boral in this instance’’.

Boral's Berrima mine 'very inefficient'

Cr McLaughlin said the mine’s closure was a shame.

He said the council’s withdrawal of support for the proposed expansion of mining operations last year, led by Cr Whipper, was a key factor in last week’s decision.

In 2012, the Community Coal Reference Panel, headed by Cr Whipper, raised concerns that contaminated water from the mine was running into the Wingecarribee River, part of the Sydney catchment.

As a result, Crs Jim Clark, Ken Halstead, Juliet Arkwright and Whipper voted to overturn the council’s support for the mine’s expansion. Cr McLaughlin and Jim Mauger declared an interest and did not vote.

Cr Whipper said the council’s change of heart was about nothing more than raising the red flag of concern.

‘‘The final determination was assessed independently and not I or any other councillor had a part to play in that outcome,’’ he said.

‘‘This is a global decision, based on [Boral] maintaining dividend for stakeholders.’’

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