Public have their say on Moolarben Coal expansion plans

The Planning Assessment Commission will hold several meetings in Mudgee this month as it reviews Moolarben Coal’s plans to extend its mining operations.

On February 26 and 27, locals from across the mid-western region can have their final say on the project, with the commission holding public meetings at Mudgee Town Hall.

The expansion would include two underground mines, a third open cut mine, an extension to current open pit mines as well as supporting infrastructure.

If approved, the complex will have the capacity to produce 17 million tonnes per annum ROM until 2037.

According to the mine’s manager John Blanning, job numbers would increase from around 300 to over 440 with the expansion expected to provide economic benefits to the local community, Mudgee Guardian reported.

“At peak production the project will contribute $47 million per annum in royalties to the NSW government and provide over $700 million in wider economic benefits to the local region,” Blanning said.

He said the expansion would secure “the future of [the] mining industry in the region.”

The NSW Department of Planning said the mine could go ahead “subject to strict conditions” that would “address community concerns around water, traffic and noise.”

The conditions include $1.5 million in community enhancement works, upgrades to Ulan Road and comprehensive water monitoring to ensure zero discharge from the site.

“The department’s preliminary assessment concluded that the project was a logical extension to the Moolarben Mine’s Stage One operation and should be approved given the significant predicted local, regional and state economic benefits, including additional jobs and investment,” a department spokesman said.

The first public hearing will be held at the Mudgee Town Hall Auditorium at 1pm on Wednesday, February 26.

A second hearing will occur at 2pm on Thursday, February 27.

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