The approval effectively covers the disturbance of an additional 260ha with no change made to the mine’s impressive, approved production capacity of 32 million tonnes per annum.
With the frequency of mine blasting increasing under the Mt Arthur extension plans, the PAC urged the planning department to update its blasting guidelines to “improve confidence” in the planning assessment process.
As part of the approval, BHP Billiton is required to make the mine’s blasting schedule available on the Mt Arthur Coal website.
According to the ABC, BHP Billiton welcomed the PAC decision saying it will work to ensure operational impacts are appropriately managed and mitigated and will comply with the conditions.
The initial application and preliminary environmental assessment for the relatively minor project modification were filed in February, 2012.