An application for a mine extension near Muswellbrook has been conditionally approved by the state’s independent planning body.
The applicant MACH Mount Pleasant Operations sought approval to extend the life of its operations at its Mount Pleasant Operations until 2048 and extract an additional 444 million tonnes of coal over the over the life of the mine.
Releasing its reasons for the decision this afternoon, the NSW Independent Planning Commission says strict conditions must be adhered to, including:
- air quality and noise impacts of the Project are capable of being minimised, managed or at least compensated
- the greenhouse gas emissions for the Project have been adequately estimated and are permissible in the context of the current climate change policy framework;
- opportunities exist for the Applicant throughout the life of the Project to deploy existing, emerging and future technologies to improve the abatement of greenhouse gas emissions;
- impacts on historic heritage are capable of being managed;
- any harm to Aboriginal cultural heritage can be acceptably managed through conditions of consent;
- biodiversity impacts can be suitably avoided, mitigated and/or offset, including impacts to Delma vescolineata;
- the Project can be managed such that it would not result in a significant impact to surface water and groundwater resources;
- visual impacts associated with the Project would be generally similar to those under the existing approval and would reduce over time as a result of progressive rehabilitation;
- the Project would have a net positive economic impact in relation to employment through the provision of up to an average of 447 direct and indirect full time equivalent (FTE) jobs in the Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter LGAs, 643 FTE jobs in the wider Hunter Valley region, and 444 FTE jobs elsewhere in NSW.
The three-member Commission Panel met with the Department of Planning and Environment, MACH, Muswellbrook Shire Council and Upper Hunter Shire Council, inspected the site and hosted a two day public hearing, to come to it’s decision.
689 submissions in support of the application, 251 objections, 20 comments and 80 emailed submissions were received by the Commission.
Image: Mount Pleasant.