The New South Wales Government has given Whitehaven Coal the all-clear to extend the Vickery coal mine in New South Wales.
The government released the Vickery extension project’s technical assessment this week and recommended that the project could proceed.
The next step for Whitehaven to take is a public hearing regarding the project in coming weeks, which will be held by the Independent Planning Commission (IPC).
As outlined in the Statement of Expectations released by New South Wales Planning Minister Rob Stokes, the IPC must make its final call on the project within 12 weeks.
Whitehaven already passed the first round of public hearings for the Vickery project in early 2019, which attracted significant interest from people all around the region, according to Whitehaven managing director and chief executive Paul Flynn.
“We know there is strong support for Vickery from the comprehensive community consultation process,” Flynn said, adding that 60 per cent of public submissions to the Department of Planning and 75 per cent to the IPC called for a project approval.
“Vickery has the potential to be one of the most significant sources of employment and investment in north west New South Wales in the coming years and major infrastructure projects have a key role to play in the post COVID-19 economic recovery, including for regional Australia.”
The Vickery extension proposes the construction of a new open-cut mine, which will predominantly produce metallurgical coal for steel production and the associated on-site infrastructure.
It will also produce high-quality thermal coal for export and combine low impurity and low ash coal with high efficiency low emission (HELE) coal generation technology to reduce carbon emissions.
The expansion is estimated to create around 500 construction jobs and 450 operational jobs, adding to Whitehaven’s existing workforce of 2400 employees.
The project will also contribute $1.2 million in economic benefit to the state of New South Wales, including $656 million in royalty payments to the New South Wales Government.