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Coal mine extended by more than a decade

Whitehaven Coal workers
Whitehaven Coal workers

An underground coal operation has been approved to keep its doors open for an extra 13 years.

Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri Stage 3 Extension Project recently received the regulatory nod, meaning the operation can continue until at least 2044.

The New South Wales Independent Planning Commission’s (NSW IPC’s) decision also means 500 skilled workers will be retained for an extra decade.

“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,” NSW IPC chair Mary O’Kane and panel members Snow Barlow and Chris Fell said in a public statement.

The decision is subject to 152 conditions, which include completing an emissions minimisation plan to reduce scope one emissions through deploying existing, emerging and future technologies. Local groundwater users affected by the mine expansion will also be compensated.

“Subject to the imposed conditions, the commission is satisfied that the project can achieve the requirements of the Resources State Environmental Planning Policy (Resources and Energy) 2021, and the relevant strategic policy positions with respect to the reduction of fugitive emissions and the recognition of the importance of the continuation of the extraction and exportation of coal to the NSW economy,” the trio said.

“[T]he applicant must provide a compensatory water supply to any landowner of privately owned land whose rightful water supply is adversely and directly affected … [and] must also provide and alternative long-term supply of water that is equivalent, in quality and volume, to the loss attributable to the development.”

The decision came just weeks after the proponent donated an entire shipload of thermal coal as part of Australia’s humanitarian assistance package for Ukraine. The company hopes the commodity will help the troubled country improve energy security and resist Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposed invasion. It also donated $250,000 to the Australian Red Cross’ Ukraine crisis appeal. QMEB can reveal the delivery is worth nearly $30 million.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier commended the mining company’s philanthropy in a “very tight” supply market.

New coal project approved in Central Qld
Coal prices will drop up to 81 per cent says authority
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Industry donates coal to relieve Russia-Ukraine resources shortfall.

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