NSW Minerals Council CEO, Stephen Galilee, visited the Mid-Western Region this week and is bullish about the the Bylong Coal Project.
In July last year, the Planning Assessment Commission savaged the initial 25-year open-cut coal mine plans, outlining key concerns surrounding impacts on the landscape, water resources and the community.
Mr Galilee said that KEPCO is working to address the issues raised and believes the the proposed mine will benefit the area.
“I spent most of [Wednesday] afternoon at the Bylong site getting a briefing from the KEPCO team on the mine design, how they’re managing the local impacts and some of the economic opportunities that will come from the project,” he said.
“I was particularly struck by the innovative mine design and the phasing of their mining activity and the fact that the project won’t have any final voids when they restore it to post-mining land use.”
In their response to the PAC report earlier this year, KEPCO outlined the funding available for roads in the Mid-Western region, if the proposed mine is approved.
Mr Galilee also checked out local roads slated for Resources For Regions works, a program of which he’s on the advisory panel for.
And met with Mid-Western Regional Council and the Mudgee Chamber of Commerce.
He said that the Bylong project can potentially benefit the region as a whole and “particularly for the Kandos and Rylstone area”.
“I’ve been in this job seven years and I’ve seen how Mudgee has grown stronger and more diverse as a result of the mining projects in the region but also world class tourism, wineries, and agriculture,” he said.
“There’s a vibrant local community, artists, cafes, and a lot to offer. And the economy is really strengthened by having that significant economic injection from the mines that are up the road.
“But places like Kandos and Rylstone don’t necessarily benefit as much as Mudgee from that and having that fourth project at Bylong will really help spread some of those benefits further across the region.
“Kandos and Rylstone can potentially see that kind of strength and diversification if that project proceeds.
“There are many examples across NSW, like Gunnedah, of communities that can diversify and drought-proof their local economy by having a strong mining sector in the region. Complemented by the diversity and offering they have on tourism, viticulture, agriculture, and other areas of economic activity.”