South32 continues chasing Dendrobium mine approval


South32 is working on alterations to its Dendrobium Next Domain (DND) mine plan – one of the options the company is exploring to get its mine extension approved at the Illawarra metallurgical coal complex in New South Wales

The major miner had originally forecast the life extension investment amount to cost between $US700 million ($945 million) and $US900 million ($1.2 billion) between the 2022 financial year and 2025 financial year.

South32 has revealed that it is looking to adjust the costing to between $US700 million ($945 million) and $US800 million ($1.08 billion) between the 2023 financial year and 2027 financial year.

This is a significant reduction in the cost of the mine extension per annum, with a projected $US100 million ($135 million) reduction if the mine was to cost its initial $US900 amount across the original three-year plan.

Production estimates of the Dendrobium mine following the extension have been altered from approximately 7.6 million tonnes per annum of metallurgical coal (met coal) to between 7.5-8 million tonnes of met coal.

With the company’s proposal for its DND mine plan rejected by the NSW’s Independent Planning Commission (IPC) in the third quarter of 2021, the miner has also lodged a judicial review, which is currently under way at the NSW Land and Environment Court.

South32 will aim to provide further updates on its mine extension proposals by the end of 2021.

It comes as South32 released an updated sustainability report. Within this, the company also outlined its overarching decarbonisation plans for the Illawarra met coal complex.

It is targeting an increase in post-drainage capture efficiency at its Appin mine from 61 per cent in the 2021 financial year to 67 per cent in the 2024 financial year.

South32 is also working with the CSIRO to develop ventilation air methane technologies to increase the dilution of methane emitted from the project.

South32 is committed to net-zero operational carbon emissions by 2050.

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