Whitehaven Coal applies to keep Sunnyside mining lease current

Whitehaven Coal has applied to extend the life of mine at the closed Sunnyside Coal mine.

Sunnyside mine, located 15 kilometres west of Gunnedah, was originally approved to mine until November 2015.

However due to unfavourable market conditions the mine was put into care and maintenance in 2012, with activities at the site since then limited to the clearing of remaining ROM coal stockpiles.

Whitehaven says it wishes to maintain development consent at Sunnyside to enable the extraction of the remaining coal within the approved open cut footprint should the current adverse economic conditions change.  

The company has applied for a modification of the project approval to authorise the continuation of mining for five years.

In the new application, Whitehaven has requested to partially backfill the mine void with waste rock on completion of mining activity.

Whitehaven says modification would not change any aspect of approved mine, including its ability to extract 1 million tonnes of coal per annum.

“The modification would involve the completion of the approved mining activities,” Whitehaven said in its application to the Department of Planning.

“Without the modification the remaining coal reserves approved to be extracted would be forgone, along with the associated economic benefits resulting from the payment of State royalties, employment and direct expenditure in the NSW and local economies.”

The proposal is on public exhibition until August 5.

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