Australian Pacific contemplates legal action over Dartbrook restart

Australian Pacific Coal is considering an appeal against the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission’s (IPC) refusal of the company’s proposed extension of the Dartbrook mine.

The IPC’s refusal was made on the grounds that a five-year extension would not be in accordance with the principles of ecologically sustainable development of intergenerational equity (social and environmental impact).

It also deemed Dartbrook’s five-year extension beyond 2022 was not in the public interest.

Australian Pacific had three months until November 8 to submit an appeal to the New South Wales Land and Environment Court.

The company stated the IPC had acknowledged it required the five-year extension to justify the capital expenditure involved in recommissioning the mine.

Australian Pacific only received an approval from the IPC in August to restart its mothballed underground coal mining up until 2022 using bord-and-pillar methods and a varied coal clearance system.

This system will transport coal by trucks using a private haul road to a new coal delivery shaft that connects to an underground conveyor to the coal handling and preparation plant.

Dartbrook was put into care and maintenance in 2006. Its restart has attracted strong opposition from Upper Hunter Shire Council and the local community.

The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment advised the IPC that the impacts of Australian Pacific’s modified application to restart the mine “acceptable and the proposal is approvable,” subject to proposed recommendations.

The IPC stated Australian Pacific did not adequately evaluate its project’s impacts, including air quality, noise, subsidence, groundwater and greenhouse gas emissions.

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