A section of Sugarloaf State Conservation Area is expected to be closed to the public for more than a decade as authorities struggle to deal with threats to safety posed by mine subsidence damage.

Expert reports reveal a series of possible safety risks to people using the public reserve including rockfalls, large-scale landslide and trees toppling.

Part of the reserve, around the largest subsidence damage, will be fenced off indefinitely following recommendations by the mine’s consultants.

It is considered too dangerous to allow workers in to remediate because ‘‘soil and toppling failure’’ could occur quickly and people would ‘‘not be able to evacuate’’.

‘‘The only way to ensure public safety is to prevent access to this area until the vertical block movement feature [three large subsidence-affected areas] and associated subsidence impacts are considered safe and stable by the relevant experts and authorities,’’ the state government’s Sugarloaf State Conservation Area safety and remediation committee report says.

It is estimated the area could be fenced off for more than a decade.

Miner Glencore Xstrata’s West Wallsend Colliery has agreed to spend $100,000 on the reserve to make up for the loss of access.

Source: Newcastle Herald - See full article