Hume Coal has announced plans for a new underground coal mine that could create 300 jobs.
The mine, which has been dubbed a “low-impact, environmentally sensitive” operation, will have its project plans submitted to the NSW Government next week.
“The innovative mining system is an Australian first, and is designed to extract coal for steel making from the Wongawilli coal seam in the Sutton Forest region, while protecting the ground water and the environment,” Hume said in a company statement.
The mine is slated to have a reduced impact on the seam, only extracting 35 per cent of the coal from the available reserves, “leaving the majority in the ground to provide long-term ground stability and [to] minimise impacts on groundwater”.
Hume project director Greig Duncan said the plan is the best outcome for the local community.
“The NSW Government has granted us the responsibility of exploring and potentially developing the resources in the Southern Highlands to the benefit of all the people of NSW, and we take this responsibility extremely seriously,” Duncan said.
“The project will not involve coal seam gas, open cut, or longwall mining.
“It will have no impact on town water or surface water such as dams,” he added.
“Furthermore, we’ve taken great care to design a mining system that will have no long-term impact on the groundwater system, ensuring it remains intact and undamaged.
The project is expected to create 400 jobs during the construction phase.
Following the mine project plan, Hume Coal will submit a preliminary environmental assessment and application to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment later this month.