Newcrest Mining has received approval from the New South Wales Government to go ahead with plans for what will be the largest underground mine in Australia.
Cadia Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Newcrest, last Friday received approval from Premier Kristina Keneally and Minister for Planning Tony Kelly for the $2 billion expansion of the Cadia East gold and copper project near Orange.
“If approved by the board, the Cadia East project will be the largest underground mine in Australia and will secure our future in the region for at least the next 20 years,” Newcrest general manager Cadia Valley operations Tony McPaul said.
According to McPaul, the expansion will also provide a much needed boost to local economies.
“It will mean significant ongoing direct and indirect employment and economic activity for the region,” he said.
“At the peak of construction approximately 1,300 employees will be required.”
Despite potential positives for the surrounding communities, the expansion plan is not without controversy.
The new development will require an extra six million litres of water a day, which has reportedly worried many landholders in an area with some of the tightest water restrictions in the State.
But according to Tony Kelly, the expanded operation will have minimal impact on local water supplies.
He said that a number of strict environmental conditions had been placed on the Cadia East development.
“One thing that should be pointed out is that approximately 80% of the water to be used by the mine will come from recycled sources,” he said.
“If at any stage the company is not able to show it has sufficient water for the expansion, it must curtail its operations.”