The Planning Assessment Commission has approved a modification of Glencore’s Mangoola mine which will see the site ramp up coal production by 3 million tonnes a year.
Increasing production at the Hunter Valley mine by almost 30 per cent from 10.5 million tonnes to 13.5 million tonnes of coal a year will create an estimated 150 new jobs.
The mine’s existing footprint and approved disturbance area will remain unchanged, however Glencore has been approved to increase the number of blasts from 5 to 6, increase the number of excavators and trucks to facilitate an increase in production and convert a temporary ROM stockpile to a permanent stockpile.
A Glencore spokesman said the modification would support existing employees, local contractors and services and significantly boost the mine’s annual spend across the Upper Hunter region.
Despite concerns around noise, water and dust, the commission said it supported the modified project as it allowed the ‘rational and efficient extraction” of the coal resource.
It said fewer residents will experience noise problems as a result of updated noise modelling at the site.
The commission also found the existing regulatory scheme controlling saline water releases from Hunter coal mines would be sufficient to protect the river in the case a discharge was required from the site.
The mine was also ordered to change its offset strategy, and regenerate threatened plant species such as Ironbark and Spotted Gum Woodland.
Glencore said it would a continued focus on management of environmental and social impacts “will underpin Mangoola's ongoing operations”.
“We are part of the local community,” the spokesperson said.
“As such, we are driving development and implementation of best-practice initiatives, some of them industry-leading, to ensure that any impacts on our neighbours are minimised and effectively managed.”