The New South Wales Independent Planning Commission has given Malabar Resources the go-ahead to develop the Maxwell underground coal project in the Hunter Valley.
The IPC came to the decision following a comprehensive review by independent experts and assessment by the state’s Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.
Following the review of potential impacts the mine could have to the local area, the IPC stated that the project’s benefits would likely be in the public interest.
It has however listed 169 conditions Malabar Resources must meet to be permitted to go ahead with the development.
Points taken into consideration included the Maxwell project’s proximity to other mining operations, enabling it to share infrastructure; the underground nature minimising potential air quality, visual, noise and vibration quality; and Malabar’s ability to minimise scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions.
The IPC’s 169 conditions for the project seek to “avoid serious or irreversible damage and avoid, minimise and manage potential impacts on biodiversity and heritage”.
This news was welcomed by Malabar Resources chairman Wayne Seabrook, who was eager to begin the next steps to start construction this year.
“(This) news is just the beginning of a much longer journey with our neighbours to ensure the project continues to meet the expectations of everyone in our community, many of whom we have been speaking with over the last eight years to get this project right,” Seabrook said.
“The Maxwell underground project represents immense potential for the communities of the Upper Hunter (Valley). It will deliver about 250 construction jobs and 350 jobs during operation into the region.
“The project will also support local businesses and suppliers over the next three decades and provide a real boost to the local economy.”
The Maxwell project will have an initial mine life of 26 years and produce high quality coals, which are 75 per cent capable of being used for steelmaking.
It has a total JORC mineral resource of 770 million tonnes of coal and is expected to generate between $500 and $700 million in export income for New South Wales per year.