Austar coal mine receives green light for expansion

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The Austar Coal Mine will go ahead with an extension of three new underground longwall panels, thanks to approval from the Department of Planning and Environment.

The approval was granted under strict conditions which address issues such as the standards required for development of an extraction plan, as well as new rehabilitation objectives as raised by Cessnock Council and the Office of Environment and Heritage.

No public submissions were received for or against the expansion.

A spokesperson for Yancoal said that while it was not possible to quantify any extension of mine life as a result of the latest modification, the approval will enable access to the next set of panels to be mined throughout the next 1-2 years.

The three longwalls contain approximately 4.5 million tonnes of ROM coal.

In 2014 two workers died at the Stage 3 Austar mine workings when a mine wall collapsed 500m underground, which resulted in the sterilisation of one area of the mine. The investigation into that incident is still ongoing.