A proposal to extend South32’s Dendrobium coal mine in Port Kembla, New South Wales (NSW), has been declared State Significant Infrastructure (SSI) given its importance to Port Kembla steelworks.
Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the decision recognises the proposal’s potential economic benefits, with the mine already contributing $1.9 billion to the state’s economy each year, employing 4500 workers and supporting another 10,000 jobs across the Illawarra.
“Dendrobium is a critical source of coking coal for the Port Kembla steelworks and the decision to declare the project SSI will provide thousands of workers with greater certainty on the future of their jobs,” Toole said.
NSW Minerals Council chief executive officer Stephen Galilee said the decision is a bold and positive step that will help protect thousands of jobs and help secure the long-term economic future of the Illawarra region.
“This important project will deliver around $1 billion in investment for NSW,” Galilee said.
“It will also protect up to 10,000 local jobs, including around 700 direct jobs at the Dendrobium mine, thousands of jobs with local suppliers and contractors, and thousands more jobs at the BlueScope Steelworks at Port Kembla that relies on coal supplied from the mine.”
An SSI declaration does not change the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s rigorous assessment of the proposal to extend the Dendrobium coal mine.
The Federal Government has also granted Major Project Status (MPS) to Sunrise Energy Metals for its $2.4 billion Sunrise Battery Materials Complex project at Fifield, near Condobolin in NSW.
The project will develop and operate a nickel/cobalt mine and battery materials processing and recycling facility, for the rapidly expanding lithium-ion battery market along with the rare alloying metal, scandium.
Federal Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the Sunrise project is expected to support over 1700 full-time jobs over the three-year engineering and construction phase and a further 380 jobs each year over the anticipated 50-year life of the project.
“Australia is lucky to have some of the largest reserves of the critical minerals and metals which drive the modern global economy,” Taylor said.
Major Project Status helps companies access extra support, coordination and information services from the Major Projects Facilitation Agency, which acts as a single-entry point into the Australian Government regulatory approvals pathway.