Glencore and Peabody clear key approval for United Wambo

Image: United Collieries

Joint venture partners Glencore and Peabody Energy have received a conditional approval for the $381 million United Wambo coal project in New South Wales.

The United Collieries JV had sought to integrate and expand open cut mining operations at the existing United Wambo coal mine and United Colliery near Singleton in the Hunter Valley.

It will facilitate the extraction of an additional 150 million tonnes of run-of-mine (ROM) coal over a 23-year period.

The combined Wambo underground and open cut operations had an existing approval to extract up to 14.7 million tonnes ROM coal a year.

Its proposed expansion faced community opposition, which was then referred to the NSW Independent Planning Commission for determination.

The Commission has declared the project is in the public interest after considering key issues raised by the community, including air quality, biodiversity, noise, vibration and blasting impacts.

It has also met with the United Collieries, the Department, Singleton Shire Council and the NSW Environmental Defenders Office.

The Commission granted United Collieries conditional approval at the mine on the grounds that its noise, vibration and blasting complies with the New South Wales Industrial Noise Policy, and its air quality complies with the relevant approved methods.

The Commission also decided that United Collieries have secured land-based biodiversity offsets to protect biodiversity land in the locality.

Its scope one and two greenhouse gas emissions have been adequately minimised as far as practicable, according to the Independent Planning Commission.

United Collieries first submitted its preliminary environmental assessment to the Department of Planning and Environment in 2015.

Peabody will continue to operate the Wambo underground, the coal handling and preparation plant and rail facilities.

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