A preliminary assessment of a proposal to extend Peabody’s Wilpinjong coal mine has found the project is approvable, subject to strict conditions.
The Department of Planning and Environment has referred its preliminary assessment report to the independent Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) for review.
Peabody Energy proposes to construct a new open cut pit and expand a number of its existing open cut pits.
The expansion would extend the life of the mine by seven years to 2033, and increase the coal production rate from 12.6 million tonnes per year to 13 million tonnes per year.
In response to community feedback of more than 700 submissions, the Department has included a number of draft conditions in its report.
These include noise, blasting and air quality limits; voluntary acquisition rights for a small number of residents; thorough groundwater and surface water monitoring; and an area to be set aside for conservation.
The preliminary assessment report will now be sent to the Commission for review and public hearings.
“Of the 752 submissions we received, 27 were from the local community,” a Department spokesperson said.
“We understand there’s significant interest in the mine extension and the draft conditions responding to issues raised have now been forwarded to the Commission.
“In addition, the proposal would secure ongoing employment for the current workforce of 550 people, many who live locally, and generate another 75 new jobs.
“This type of job security for regional areas is important when weighing up the economic, social and environmental factors for applications of this kind.”
Peabody Energy would also be required to contribute around $300,000 a year to the Mid-Western Regional Council for local services and infrastructure and $660,000 towards a breeding program for the endangered Regent Honeyeater bird.
The Planning and Assessment Commission will hold a public hearing into the proposed Wilpinjong Extension Project at the Mudgee Town Hall Theatre on Tuesday, November 29, at 10am.
The hearing will be open to the public and members of the public will be able to address the panel.
To register to address the hearing, call 9383 2115 or email email@example.com by 1pm on Friday, November 25.
Written submissions can also be made by Monday, December 5.