A coal mine in the Hunter Valley in New South Wales will continue operating for at least another nine months after the Independent Planning Commission extended its development consent.
Under the existing development consent for the Rix’s Creek South Mine, Bloomfield Group can extract coal until 24 June this year; however, it’s seeking to extend the 21-year approval period for coal extraction until 24 March next year.
The company has asked for the nine-month extension to allow mining to continue at the mine while a separate State Significant Development application, the Rix’s Creek Continuation of Mining Project, is assessed and determined.
The Department of Planning & Environment referred the modification application to the Commission for determination after receiving more than 25 public objections.
The Chair of the Commission, Professor Mary O’Kane AC, appointed Andrew Hutton, Tony Pearson and herself (as Chair) to consider the matter.
The Commissioners met with the Applicant, Department, Singleton Council and the NSW Resources Regulator. They also held a public meeting in Singleton on 20 May to listen to the community’s views.
Speakers raised a range of issues, including human health and environmental impacts caused by dust and noise associated with mining, greenhouse gas emissions, and economic and social benefits provided through continued employment.
Following careful consideration of all the evidence and having weighed the community’s concerns, the Commission has determined to approve the modification application.
In making its determination, the Commission concluded “the Application is in the public interest because the socio-economic contribution is likely to be greater than the continued environmental impacts of mining operations in an already active mine site with no change to the approved mining areas.”
Meanwhile, the Rix’s Creek Continuation of Mining Project is currently with the Department for assessment.