Thursday 3rd Dec, 2020

Boggabri coal mine upgrades approved

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

New South Wales’ Independent Planning Commission has conditionally approved changes to Boggabri Coal Operation’s coal mine.

The company currently has permission to extract up to 8.6 million tonnes of run-of-mine ore each year until December 2023. It is also able to operate a coal train loading facility, preparation plant, rail loop and spur line.

Boggabri sought to change five elements of the existing project, aiming to use an approved stockpile area for its product coal and undertake drilling and exploration within the disturbance area.

The company is also now approved to transport small tonneages of coal by road for testing and marketing purposes and will realign a small section of the project boundary with the adjoining Tarrawonga coal mine.

Related stories:

It also aims to secure biodiversity offsets through alternative mechanisms and extend the timeframe to secure them until February 2020.

The Department of Planning and Environment referred the matter to the commission for determination due to a “high level of public interest in the application.”

Three commissioners, Snow Barlow (who is panel chair), Zada Lipman, and Ian Lavering, were appointed to scrutinise the application and make a determination.

The panel met with Boggabri and the department and held a public meeting in Boggabri in April to listen to the community’s views. The community’s concerns centred around delays in securing biodiversity offsets, the impacts of drilling and exploration activities, the road transportation of coal and the assessment process.

After considering the evidence, the commission said it has “determined that the modification can be approved, subject to the department’s proposed conditions [which] are designed to prevent, minimise and offset adverse environmental impacts and impacts on the community.”