New South Wales greenlights Russell Vale mine expansion project

Coal mining. (Reference image by Consigliere Ivan, Flickr).

The New South Wales’ Independent Planning Commission greenlighted Wollongong Coal’s (ASX: WLC) expansion project of the Russell Vale Colliery mine, located in southern Australia’s Illawarra Region. 

The miner’s proposal sought planning approval to extract up to 3.7-million tonnes of coal over five years using bord-and-pillar mining. 

The plan, however,  had 50 ‘unique’ public objections related to water resources, subsidence, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity, bushfire risk, mine waste, noise, visual amenity, socio-economics and traffic and transport. 

The Russell Vale Underground Expansion Project is expected to deliver a net economic benefit to the state of up to A$174 million

After hosting public hearings and meetings with a number of stakeholders, the Commission determined to approve the expansion, subject to 118 conditions. Among those conditions are ensuring negligible leakage and negligible reduction in the water quality of Cataract reservoir; managing air quality impacts through the implementation of best practice mitigation, monitoring and management measures; implementing noise mitigation measures, and guaranteeing not to cause any direct or indirect impact on any identified heritage items.

“On balance, and when weighed against the objects of the [Environmental Planning & Assessment] Act, ecologically sustainable development principles, the relevant policy framework, and socio-economic benefits, the impacts associated with the project are acceptable and the project is in the public interest,” the Planning Commission’s decision reads. “The Project would result in some amenity impacts and additional environmental disturbance associated with the recommencement of mining operations at the site in accordance with the proposed mine plan… [however] the Commission is of the view that the additional environmental and amenity impacts can be appropriately managed and mitigated.” 

According to the Commission, the Russell Vale Underground Expansion Project will deliver a net economic benefit to the state of up to A$174 million and create ongoing employment for 205 people. 

15 0