Mudgee businesses have thrown their support behind Moolarben Coal’s latest plans to expand mining operations, including an increase to the coal resource of 30 million tonnes.
Local business accounted for about 13 per cent of 178 submissions made to the NSW Department of Planning earlier this month, an overwhelming majority in support of Moolarben Coal’s ninth modification to their Stage 1 project.
Businesses generally supported the mining company’s contribution to the local economy including a submission from Double R’s Ian Russell.
“Moolarben not only directly supports companies such as ours but considerably boosts the economy of the Mid-Western Regional Council district and the surrounding areas through employment and community sponsorship in education, health and safety, sports groups, the environment and the arts,” he said.
“Infrastructure is improved in regional and remote areas and Moolarben is a major source of employment through direct hiring.”
Mine employees and individuals who have seen the benefit of community and sporting group grants from Moolarben Coal also made supportive submissions.
More than 70 per cent of submissions supported the project.
Fifty submissions objected to the expansion.
Current Moolarben Coal mine manager, Bruce Birchall, said the extension of the mining limit was “logical and permits safer and more ethical recovery of the resource”.
“It is often disappointing to see coal left behind in adjacent areas where mine disturbs.
“The Moolarben seam of up to 13 metres yields a significant amount of coal for the surface area that is disturbed.
“The land to be disturbed in question is of low fertility hill country.
“I would much prefer to see resources fully exploited in these type of areas in lieu of prematurely looking at mining fertile farmlands,” he said in his supporting submission.
”I have grown up in Mudgee, lived there most of life and worked in the mining industry both locally and overseas since leaving school.
“I have seen the benefits mining brings to economies and communities, and also seen the other side where communities struggle due to lack of economic activity.
“Life in general is all about making the right trade offs, the benefits of good responsible mining to; standards of living, economies and communities far outweigh the sacrifices required. The improved mine plan also replaces a more hazardous layout and recovers coal that would otherwise be sterilised, this is a win/win outcome.”
Mid-Western Regional Council has explained issues with biodiversity offsets, payment for Ulan Road upgrades and noise.
The Nature Conservation Council has problems with numerous cumulative impacts and the fact this modification is being run in conjunction with Moolarben’s application for its Stage 2 project.
Moolarben Coal has previously said Stage 1, Modification 9 will extend mining within Open Cuts 1 and 2; the construction and operation of additional water management infrastructure; and, a minor change to the rehabilitation sequencing and ?nal landform.
The Stage 1 approval period is also proposed to be extended from 2028 to 2033.