The expansion of Xstrata’s Ulan coal mine has been approved.
The $880 million work has been approved by NSW planning minister Tony Kelly, and will see the mine double its production to 20 million tonnes per annum, re-start its open pit operations and add 21 years to the mine’s life.
However, a number of conditions have been placed on the expansion to ensure that region’s water supplies are not affected.
One of which is compensating landholders for affecting their water entitlements, as well as carrying remediation work on the nearby Golburn River.
On top of this, Xstrata must also pay the regional council $4.5 million to invest into local infrastructure.
Despite this, local interest groups are not satisfied.
They believe that the mine will further affect the Golburn River, and also begin to impact upon the Talbragar and Macquarie River systems.
The Planning Department hit back at these claims, stating that the benefits of the mine would outweigh the ‘residual costs.’