The South Korean government is under pressure to follow up its commitment to ban overseas coal financing by scrapping controversial coal projects in the Hunter and Central Coast.
South Korea President Moon Jae-in told a US-led summit Thursday that his government would stop funding coal-powered plants overseas.
The progressive president said he was also expanding a domestic decision to phase out coal, "the dirtiest form of energy".
Kepco, a South Korean government-backed mining company, is seeking to extract an estimated 6.5 million tonnes of coal a year from the Bylong Valley.
It is estimated the company has spent about $700 million on the project to date. The figure includes the cost of buying up hundreds of hectares of land in the Bylong Valley over the past 10 years.
The company last month lodged a Supreme Court appeal to over a September 2019 Independent Planning Commission to reject its mining proposal on the grounds that it was not in the public interest due to factors including its greenhouse gas emissions, impacts on groundwater and the loss of prime agricultural land.
- NSW Environmental Defenders Office to represent the Bylong Valley community new court appeal over mine
- Kepco launches fresh appeal to mine in the pristine Bylong Valley
- Bylong Valley residents hoping to get on with their lives following decision
- Land and Environment Court dismisses an appeal brought by KEPCO over Bylong mine
- KEPCO argues Independent Planning Commission did not follow correct procedures in rejecting Bylong mine
- Independent Planning Commission's refusal of KEPCO's Bylong Valley coal mine to be examined in judicial review
Kepco did not respond to questions about how the South Korean government's climate pledge may affect the Bylong project.
But Bylong Valley farmer John Weaver said he had significant concerns about how the mine project could affect his business.
"We are really worried about losing our water; if the mine is approved, we will lose our water," he said.
"No amount of money will be adequate compensation for the loss of our herd and the 40 years of selective breeding. We can't lose our water."
Lock the Gate Alliance has also called on Kepco to support the government's ban on coal and walk away from the Bylong project.
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"If KEPCO continues in its pursuit of this project, it will not only be signing up for a stranded asset that has no future, but it will be undermining the strong standing that South Korea is achieving on the global stage by acting swiftly on the climate challenge," Nic Clyde said.
Meanwhile Korea Resources Corporation is planning to sell its 82.25 percent stake in the Wallarah 2 coal mine near Wyong in an effort to reduce debt.
The underground longwall mine has approval to extract up to five million tons per annum over 28 years.
Former federal environment minister Melissa Price signed off on the project under the Commonwealth Environment Protection biodiversity and Conservation Act despite concerns about water and threatened species impacts.
The South Korean Ministry of Environment did not respond to questions about the Australian projects.
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