Whitehaven Narrabri mine extension nears

Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri underground mine in North-West New South Wales is one step closer to extending the life of the mine from 2031 to 2044, following the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) recommendation.

After more than a year of review, the DPIE last month recommended that the Stage 3 Extension Project is in the public interest and approvable subject to conditions.

The Narrabri underground coal mine has been operating since 2012 and employs around 500 people, most of whom live in the region.

The extension proposes that coal will be mined using the underground longwall mining method already used successfully and safely at the mine, and using the established surface infrastructure, including the existing coal handling preparation plant, rail loop, box cut and offices.

The NSW DPIE sought public feedback on the proposal in November – December 2020.

Of the total 82 submissions received from public authorities, organisations, and members of the public, 63 or 76.8 per cent, were in support of the project.

Sixteen were comments on the project, and only three objected.

Whitehaven also conducted its own independent quantitative research through Newgate Research showing that 75 per cent of Narrabri residents agree mining jobs are essential for the economy and 73 per cent of Narrabri residents agree Whitehaven makes the local economy stronger and more resilient.

The research also concluded that over the past five years, Narrabri recorded the highest increase in positive community sentiment of all Whitehaven’s mines.

The project is now being reviewed by the NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC), and the IPC is seeking public comment until 25 February 2022.

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