The NSW Government will grant an exploration licence for the Watermark area near Gunnedah for a period of five years following a rigorous tender process, Minister for Mineral Resources Ian Macdonald said.
The value of the entire enterprise, if successful after Government assessments, could be worth more than $670 million to the people of NSW.
Macdonald said he will grant the exploration licence to China Shenhua Energy Company on the recommendation of an expert assessment panel, which included an independent probity auditor.
The Watermark area is located approximately 35 km southeast of Gunnedah in the Gunnedah Coalfield. The Exploration Licence is for an area of about 190 sqkm which is expected to contain shallow coal resources of domestic and export quality thermal coal.
The successful bid has the following features in its favour:
According to the Macdonald the licence is for exploration only, not mining
The NSW Government first invited Expressions of Interest in the proposal last October and in February this year expressions of interest closed.
Macdonald said the State Government has the highest levels of scrutiny in regards to the expression of interest process.
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