The proposal, submitted by the Wyong Areas Coal Joint Venture, is to develop and operate an underground coal mine near Wyong. The Wyong Areas Coal Joint Venture is managed by Wyong Coal Pty Limited, which has Kores as a majority shareholder.
An initial proposal was referred to the PAC for merit review in 2014. The commission made 35 recommendations to avoid, mitigate or manage the project’s predicted impacts and considered that, if adopted, there would be merit in the project proceeding.
An amended proposal was submitted to the Department in 2016 and publicly exhibited in July for a six-week period attracting about 680 public and agency submissions during the exhibition.
Department of Planning and Environment executive director of resource assessments and compliance Dr Oliver Holm said the DPE had referred the assessment to the PAC for a final decision.
“Following a second merit review by the commission in May this year, the department finalised its assessment, addressing the commission’s recommendations and has referred it to the independent commission for final decision,” Holm said.
“The department remains satisfied that the project is in the public interest, and is approvable, subject to the draft conditions of consent.
“We amended and strengthened the draft conditions in response to the commission’s recommendations.
“The project will provide real and significant economic and social benefits for the Central Coast region and for NSW as a whole, with employment opportunities for around 450 people during construction and 300 during operations.”
While the updated proposal changed the way the company planned to transport coal from the mine site, the main elements of the original application remained the same, such as the proposed mine area, mining methods, production rate and mine site infrastructure.
The company plans to mine 5 million tonnes per annum using longwall mining methods.
Conditions recommended by the Department of Planning to the PAC included intensive and comprehensive monitoring of water resources, as well as independent audits of subsidence, surface water and groundwater.
The company should also be required to closely monitor subsidence and be prepared with Trigger Action Response Plans for the proposed mine’s longwalls.