A NSW Parliamentary inquiry will look at mining’s impact on health and the environment.

Communities in New South Wales expressing concerns about emissions from nearby mines have hailed the announcement of a state parliamentary inquiry as a potential safeguard for their wellbeing. 

The inquiry, the first of its kind, will delve into the health and environmental effects of gold, silver, lead, and zinc mining on public health, air quality, water, and agriculture. 

The inquiry was triggered in part by reports of excessive dust pollution at Cadia gold mine near Orange.

Landholders near Cadia Valley Operations have experienced dust pollution for five years, and communities near the upcoming Bowdens lead, silver, and zinc project fear similar emissions.

The inquiry will also investigate regulatory authorities' response to complaints by communities.

The Cadia Community Sustainability Network, representing landholders near Cadia Valley Operations, believes the inquiry's terms of reference are comprehensive and will lead to better outcomes for both mining and the broader community.

“Our regulatory framework protects global mining companies more than it does local communities and the environment. This is clearly unacceptable,” said Greens MP Cate Faehrmann, one of the lead voices calling for the review. 

The inquiry, accepting submissions until September 5, will scrutinise the impact of mining on human health, water quality, air, land, and biodiversity. It will also examine the adequacy of existing regulations, decommissioning practices, and work health and safety standards for workers.

The mining industry's response has been mixed, with Cadia welcoming the inquiry to discuss its operations responsibly and sustainably. 

The investigation is likely to shed light on the industry's impact on communities and environmental areas, striving to strike a balance between mining activities and public health. The inquiry's findings are expected to be reported by November 2023.

More details are accessible here.