The NSW Independent Planning Commission’s decision to reject Glencore’s Glendell coal mine expansion in the Upper Hunter is an incredible result for our clients and for all Australians who value First Nations cultural heritage. [1] 

The IPC today said the project, which would have required the destruction of Wonnarua cultural heritage on the site and the removal of the historic Ravensworth Homestead, was “not in the public interest” as the mine would have “significant, irreversible and unjustified impacts on the historic heritage values of the Ravensworth Homestead complex”. 

“We welcome the IPC decision, which recognises the project would have had unacceptable impacts on heritage and that its approval would have been contrary to the principles of ecologically sustainable development, particularly the principle of intergenerational equity,” EDO Managing Lawyer Rana Koroglu said. 

“Thanks to this decision, the priceless Wonnarua cultural heritage of the Ravensworth Estate — including its important associations with the Frontier Wars in the Hunter Valley — that was under threat from this proposal, will also be saved.” 

The Environmental Defenders Office is representing Wonnarua Traditional Owners Scott Franks and Robert Lester in this matter. 

Mr Franks and Mr Lester are representatives of the Plains Clan of the Wonnarua People, whose land encompasses the site of the project. 

They opposed the project because of its proposed impact on their ancestral lands, traditional values and the project area’s significant association with frontier violence, including well-documented extrajudicial executions of Wonnarua people in the 19th century. 

“If this project had been approved and developed, it would have been devastating for our clients and other Wonnarua people,” Ms Koroglu said.  

“It would have desecrated Wonnarua lands and destroyed a place of profound significance. 

“Our clients are very relieved the Independent Planning Commission has rejected this proposal.” 


[1] Glendell coal mine proposal refused due to heritage impacts, Independent Planning Commission, 28-10-22 


The Environmental Defenders Office has previously lodged a legal complaint, on behalf of The Plains Clan of the Wonnarua People and Lock the Gate Alliance, with ACCC and ASIC against Glencore’s misleading claims on climate impact and its behaviour towards Traditional Owners under the Corporations Act 2001.  

MEDIA CONTACT: James Tremain | 0419 272 254