A coal producer has been given the nod to proceed with its $700 million mine extension in New South Wales’ Narrabri region.
Whitehaven Coal recently secured Independent Planning Commission approval for its Vickery Coal Mine Expansion, 118km northwest of Tamworth.
Despite anti-mining activists repeatedly trying to use public hearings to delay regulatory approval, the State Department of Planning, Industry and the Environment found the project was absolutely in the “public interest” and “approvable” according to a whole of government assessment released back in May.
The State Government also supported new laws to ban the commission from considering the environmental consequences of exporting coal to other countries while reviewing applications for new exploration work. State Deputy Premier John Barilaro revealed this was possible through amending the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act to forbid approval conditions based on so-called “downstream emissions”.
These steps will mean the proponent can proceed to final approval to expand the existing metallurgical coal operation, and create 500 construction jobs plus a further 450 operational positions once complete.
The following permanent full-time positions are already available:
- group superintendent – safety and training
- receptionist and administrative support
- technical services manager – open cut operations
- environmental officer – biodiversity.
Successful applicants will be offered an attractive salary and relocation package.
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“Whitehaven’s focus will now shift to obtaining the necessary secondary approvals and any further project optimisation as a precursor to works commencing under the new approval,” a Whitehaven spokesperson said in a public statement.