The New South Wales Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has approved Bloomfield Collieries’ proposed expansion of Rix’s Creek south mine in the Hunter Valley.
Rix’s Creek will continue operating until 2040 and produce an estimated 25 million tonnes of product coal, with royalties of more than $104 million under the new proposal.
This decision comes after IPC released an invalid approval ahead of its public hearing deadline for the Rix’s Creek expansion 10 days ago.
The invalid approval was attributed to an embarrassing administrative error and was reversed just hours after its release.
The IPC reviewed Bloomfield’s state significant development application last year, allowing the community to express its views on the expansion. Key community concerns included air quality, water, biodiversity, final landform and rehabilitation, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, climate change, noise impacts and economic and social benefits.
The IPC stated it has “adequately assessed” all the community members’ uncertainties, and is now allowing an expansion of mining activities to the south and northwest of existing pits one and three.
The commission decided the expansion was in the public interest as Rix’s Creek is an existing mine site.
The IPC has also enforced conditions on the approval to “Prevent, minimise and/or offset adverse social and environmental impacts, set standards and performance measures for acceptable environmental performance, require regular monitoring and reporting and provide for the ongoing environmental management of the development,” the IPC said in a media statement.
This decision brings job security to over 300 miners and is expected to boost the Hunter economy.