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Coal to cash: Mayor pushes for post-mine transformation ease


Transforming land from its mining past to its tourism future needs to be a smoother process to encourage economic diversification, says Lake Macquarie City mayor Kay Fraser. 

The mayoress pressed the topic while turning the first sod on what will become Australia’s first dedicated recreation resort park for motoring enthusiasts – Black Rock Motor Resort.

Set on a sprawling 252-hectare site in Wakefield, the $95 million project includes the introduction of a 5.25km track, go-kart track, driver training, luxury accommodation and function centre, and café. 

It will sit on what was once the Westside Open Cut mine, producing coal to fuel the nearby Eraring Power Station from 1992 to 2012. 

The mine reached the end of its life in February 2012 when mine owners Xstrata and Oceanic Coal determined there was no longer any more coal left on the site.

Coal to cars: Artists impression of the $95 million luxury motor resort to be built in Lake Macquarie after it underwent mine rehabilitation.

In 2020, Glencore Coal began rehabilitating the area after it had received NSW Government certification, a first for the state’s coal industry under new mine rehabilitation criteria. 

Cr Fraser says the council welcomes news the NSW Government will conduct a parliamentary inquiry to further investigate new and innovative approaches to post-mining land use. 

“Just last month we turned the sod on construction of the Black Rock Motor Resort in western Lake Macquarie, which will see a rehabilitated former mine site transformed into a major tourist destination, creating new jobs and turbo-charging our visitor economy,” she said. 

“But, the process to get the project to the starting point took seven years, due to the complexities involved with relinquishment of the mining licence.  

“The Black Rock project perfectly highlights both the great opportunity that exists in reusing appropriate former mining and industrial sites for residential and commercial purposes, but also the challenges that need to be overcome to simplify the process for all stakeholders. 

“We welcome the NSW Government’s initiative in asking the Standing Committee on State Development to hold an inquiry into this issue and thank the Minister for Natural Resources Courtney Houssos for responding to our advocacy. 

“We also appreciate the support of Hunter-based MLC and committee chair Emily Suvaal, who understands the importance of this issue in catalysing the economic diversification of our region and others that have traditionally relied on mining and related industries.” 

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