Yancoal subsidiary, Moolarben Coal Operations, has received conditional approval to increase production rates at the Moolarben joint venture (JV) project near Mudgee in New South Wales.
The news was a win for the miner after the NSW Department of Planning and Environment received more than 25 public objections to Moolarben’s applications.
Under the site’s approvals, Moolarben can extract 20 million tonnes of run-of-mine (ROM) coal from its open cut operations every year until 2038.
The expansion plan was met with public concerns over Moolarben’s groundwater modelling, salinity impacts on the Goulburn River and Hunter River, and greenhouse gas emissions.
In response, NSW Commissioners Gordon Kirkby and Chris Fell determined that the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, salinity and potential brine impacts from the modifications were “acceptable”.
Further, the modifications were considered to be “in the public interest” and not inconsistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development.
Moolarben argued that the modifications would involve relatively minor vegetation clearing, without changing the existing mine fleet or workforce increase.
The applications also aim to extend the boundaries of the stage one and two open cut pits and produce an additional three million tonnes of ROM coal each year. It wants to increase the existing coal processing, handling and transportation limits.
This JV is co-owned by Sojitz Moolarben Resources and a consortium of Korean power companies.