The New South Wales Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has given the Bowdens Silver mine, the largest undeveloped silver project in Australia, permission to move forward.
The project is located near the village of Lue, approximately 30km east of Mudgee in central NSW, and is an open-cut silver, lead and zinc mine proposed by Bowdens Silver, who bought the project in June 2016.
The mine would extract and process up to two million tonnes of ore per annum and will operate over a period of approximately 23 years, including pre-mining construction, extraction and rehabilitation.
Prior to the project’s approval, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment completed a whole-of-government assessment of the mine in December 2022.
Additionally, the NSW IPC met with key stakeholders, conducted a site inspection, held a three-day public hearing in February 2023, and received more than 1900 written submissions on the proposed development.
NSW Minerals Council chief executive officer Stephen Galilee hailed the approval as a positive step for the Mudgee region and the NSW economy.
“After two and a half years of rigorous assessment by the department of planning, the IPC approval will mean hundreds of new local jobs in the Mudgee region and over $300 million in capital investment,” Galilee said.
“Nearly 320 new jobs will be created in construction, and around 230 ongoing jobs supported during mining operations. The project will also deliver nearly $60 million in mining royalties to the people of NSW over the life of the project.”
Galilee said these types of projects are critical in ensuring metals of the future are supplied for a range of industries, including energy and advanced manufacturing.
“We have an abundance of these metals and minerals here in NSW, and a range of further mining projects in the planning pipeline, with the potential for further positive development of our state’s resources sector,” Galilee said.