PAC holds public hearing on Stratford mine expansion

The Planning Assessment Commission will hold a public hearing today as part of its review of Yancoal’s Stratford mine expansion plans.

Registered parties who will address PAC as part of the hearing include council, local interest groups, Yancoal and individuals.

Commissioner Dr Neil Shepherd said the information from today’s session will be collated and sent to the Planning Department for review, ABC reported.

Shepard said the process would be thorough and look at all the merits of the proposal.

"What we are trying to do is to review the overall merits of the proposal," he said.

"So is the proposal in the public interest or not, and to make recommendations accordingly.”

Shepherd says Gloucester Council, which is officially opposing part of the expansion, has lodged a comprehensive submission.

He says the public hearing is an important part of the assessment process but stressed it was not a place for public debate.

"It is in fact people giving information to the commission, because the commission will then produce it's review report which is taken into account in the final decision making."

The expansion proposal will see the extension of operations at Stratford mine, adding another 11 years to its mine life as well growing its annual output to around 2.6 million tonnes of ROM coal.

This growth will also see around 250 workers on site, the majority of which will come from the local area.

Gloucester mayor John Rosenbaum has previously said there were concerns over parts of the expansion plans.

Local council has rejected a return to 24-hour mining at the site, and says any expansion should not impede within a kilometre radius of the Stratford township.

"We're opposing part of the expansion, the other section that they're wanting to expand we're reasonably happy for that to go ahead providing they fulfil the obligations that we've put in here," he said.

"There has to be financial benefits to our community, there has to be better monitoring with the dust.

"The conditions that we're looking at imposing are more substantial than what we have done before."

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