New Hope Group has advanced to the next step of the embattled New Acland coal mine stage three project approvals process as it seeks final go ahead for the long-awaited development this year.
In December 2018, New Hope applied for changes to the Land Court’s noise limit conditions, which have now been satisfied.
A final decision from the Environmental Authority (EA) for the project is due by March 12 2019, unless extended by the government.
New Hope has been pursuing New Acland’s expansion for several years. The project involves a proposed extension of New Acland’s operating life, including the development of three new resources areas within Manning Vale and Willeroo as three new pits.
Its draft EA attracted 35 objectors, many of whom were local landholders who lived close to the mine and were concerned with the social and environmental impact of the site.
New Acland’s mining lease applications and the draft EA were subsequently referred to the Land Court for an objections hearing.
New Hope are still required to go through a number of further steps to obtain final project approval, including grant of the mining leases and associated water licence for the project.
The company announced in an ASX statement that it would remain committed to delivering the New Acland stage three project and would actively work with the relevant government departments to progress through these steps.
“Obtaining final approval this calendar year is critical to ensuring the continuing operations and therefore employment for approximately 300 employees and 500 contractors currently engaged at the New Acland mine,” New Hope said.
The expanded New Acland is expected to produce up to 7.5 million tonnes of coal per year.