With its proposed extension project recently referred to the Planning Assessment Commission for determination, Wilpinjong General Manager, Blair Jackson explained the Project still has a few stages before it can be approved.
‘We are seeking approval of our Wilpinjong Extension Project, which will extend the life of the mine by seven years to 2033, securing ongoing employment for the current workforce and creating another 75 new jobs,’ he said.
‘We have been through an extensive approval process and still have a few more stages to go, the first of which is the Planning Assessment Commission’s review of the NSW Government’s assessment report.
Blair explained the timing of the next steps was a matter for the Planning Assessment Commission but he was hopeful of a determination in the coming months.
The PAC held a public hearing in Mudgee late last year where people had the opportunity to come and speak in favour of, or against the project. Most spoke in favour of the project and readers may recall some groups took the opportunity to protest at the hearing.
Blair said the feedback provided is extensive and project feedback often comes from far afield.
‘I can only speak for Wilpinjong but it is interesting how many groups with different interests provide feedback into mining projects. For our example the Government received 752 submissions. But only 27 of these were from the local community with the overwhelming majority of submissions coming from out-of-towners.’
Blair explained the feedback had led Peabody to make some changes to the project.
‘The review process with both government and the PAC often involves projects adapting their plans in response to feedback which can minimise impacts or enhance benefits,’ he said.
‘In Wilpinjong’s case, we’ve re-designed the pit 8 final landform, taking advantage of natural topography of the area and we’ve also improved biodiversity outcomes.