EPA cautions coal mines for burying waste tyres

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued Official Cautions to six open cut coal mines in the Namoi and Liverpool Plains regions following an EPA investigation into the burial of waste haul truck tyres

The investigation was in response to allegations of illegal receipt and burial of waste tyres at one open-cut coal mine in the Namoi region in June 2020.

EPA Director Regulatory Operations Stephen Budgen said while the EPA did not find evidence that these tyres were brought onto the mine sites from other areas, the investigation identified that all six mines had buried their tyres without the necessary licence conditions.

“The EPA is ensuring appropriate environmental safeguards are in place before on-site disposal is allowed to continue at mines,” Mr Budgen said.

“We found instances of tyres being buried without necessary licence conditions at various times between 2014-2020.

“While no environmental harm was found to have occurred, the EPA issued Official Cautions to all six of the open cut coal mines we investigated.”

Mr Budgen said an Official Caution was a regulatory tool that the EPA used to encourage compliance and help improve environmental outcomes.

“The EPA is also actively engaged with the mining and tyre recycling industries to find long term strategies for the management and safe disposal of waste tyres,” Mr Budgen said.

The EPA is in discussion with other relevant agencies to address the capacity of the current recycling industry through initiatives in the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041.

For more information on the EPA’s regulatory tools, see the EPA Compliance Policy on the EPA website. If you suspect someone is doing the wrong thing, phone the NSW EPA on 131 555.