Whitehaven expands Narrabri until 2044


Whitehaven Coal has received approval to extend its Narrabri coal mine from the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission, adding 82 million tonnes to its extraction plans.

The expansion was approved by the state’s department of planning and environment in January but was delegated to the commission as a matter of state significance.

The commission’s three-member panel comprised professors Mary O’Kane, Snow Barlow and Chris Fell who granted the expansion subject to 152 conditions.

“The commission finds that, on balance, the application is not inconsistent with [ecologically sustainable development] principles, and that the project would achieve an appropriate balance between relevant environmental, economic and social considerations,” its Statement of Reasons for Decision read.

This decision considered the state government’s policies on mining and emission reductions and set strict performance measures to curb the project’s scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions.

Similar measures were put in place to control groundwater contamination.

“The commission is of the view that should any groundwater users be affected by the project, the proposed make good provisions and contingency measures would then apply… [and] would be sufficient in adequately compensating affected groundwater users,” the commission stated.

Other issues and conditions raised involved air quality, noise impacts, subsidence, traffic, visual impacts and heritage, particularly Aboriginal cultural heritage, but it was concluded that each one could be effectively avoided, minimised or offset.

“The commission noted there is considerable local support for the project, which it found would generate “net positive economic benefits” through local employment, royalties and tax revenue,” it was stated in a media release.

The expansion will see Narrabri continue to operate until 2044.

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