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Coal to cash: Historic $10m Mines Grouting Fund pours in

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Charlestown, Cardiff, Morisset, Glendale and West Wallsend could all be filled with thousands of tonnes of cement grout to make way for development.

The popular Lake Macquarie suburbs are home to disused mining voids that lay beneath prime commercial real estate.

On Friday 10 May, federal government representatives met with local dignitaries at a prominent Charlestown landmark to announce a $10 million Lake Macquarie Mines Grouting Fund, which will help cover the cost of filling the sometimes-cavernous voids left behind by historic coal mines across the LGA.

The Lake Macquarie Mines Grouting Fund has been welcomed in Charlestown this week.

The funding will arrive in two stages, with the first $2 million spent setting up the fund in conjunction with Lake Macquarie City Council, and the remaining $8 million available for future development requiring grouting works.

Suburbs expected to benefit most include Charlestown, Cardiff, Morisset, Glendale and West Wallsend, all of which are extensively undermined.

Council’s director development planning and regulation David Antcliff said while some old coal mines tunnelled deep beneath the earth’s surface, others were relatively shallow.

“Mines left behind may become unstable if large-scale developments are built on top of them,” he said.

“That’s where mine grouting becomes necessary.”

Grouting involves pumping a cement-like material into the void.

Some cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and require thousands of cubic metres to fill, potentially making the development a commercially unviable undertaking without external assistance.

Mr Antcliff said six recent local mine grouting projects each required an average of about 8750 cubic metres of cement to fill.

The largest void alone sucked up 25,000 cubic metres of cement, enough to fill 10 Olympic swimming pools.

“The Mines Grouting Fund will contribute to these often-prohibitive costs,” Mr Antcliff said.

“That not only provides certainty for developers and investors, it ensures development in Lake Mac is undertaken safely and without the threat of future mine subsidence.”

Lake Macquarie Mines Grouting Fund – $10 million will be pumped into the LGA in coming years.

Lake Macquarie City mayor Kay Fraser said mine grouting would open the door for an estimated $450 million of development in the city, close to shops, services and transport links.

“Time and again, our studies and strategies have identified the need for higher density development in commercial centres to cater for the city’s projected growth,” she said.

“But, some of that land sits on top of old mines. Funding for mine grouting will help unlock the development potential of these sites, creating jobs, providing new homes and attracting more investment in our city.”

Shortland MP Pat Conroy explained it wasexciting progress” on one of his key election commitments.

“The Lake Macquarie Mines Grouting Fund will give the private sector the certainty they need to invest in our community, including in new housing which we all know is desperately needed,” he said.

“I am committed to delivering on my election commitments for the Shortland electorate.

“That includes unlocking Lake Macquarie’s economic potential by investing in a mines fund.”

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