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NSW government tightens mining approval policy

The NSW Government today released a proposed amendment to the Mining State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), which would remove a provision making the significance of the resource the principle consideration under the Mining SEPP when determining mining projects.

Planning Minister Rob Stokes said the draft amendment reflects the legislative requirement for decision makers to consider the likely environmental, social and economic impacts of a mining development.

“The protection of the environment and the promotion of the social and economic welfare of the community have always been objects of planning legislation,” Mr Stokes said.

“The careful deliberation of environmental, economic and social issues is fundamental to good planning.

“This proposed amendment reflects the importance of balance in assessing the likely impacts of mining developments.”

The amendment has caused some outrage in the mining industry, while giving hope to campaigners fighting contentious projects, such as a controversial Rio Tinto coal mine expansion in the Hunter Valley.

The Mount Thorley Warkworth mine expansion, proposed near the village of Bulga, could also be affected by the change.

A complete review of the Mining SEPP is currently underway and will be subject to public consultation later this year.

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