HOGSBACK

NSW needs more Vickery projects

THE approval for Whitehaven Coal’s $607 million Vickery project this week by the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission is a shot in the arm for the Gunnedah region and a reminder to the decision makers in Macquarie Street that the state needs more projects like this if it is to crawl out of the COVID-19 induced stupor.

NSW needs more Vickery projects

The Gunnedah region has a potential $1.5 billion in capital investment with $826 million in royalties and 2520 jobs, according to research completed by the NSW Minerals Council that analysed the potential economic benefits of all 32 major mining projects in the NSW planning system.

These are from initial environmental impact submission stage to approved projects still seeking related conditional agency approvals before mining can begin.

NSWMC CEO Stephen Galilee said those projects had the potential to deliver almost $13 billion in investment and more than 15,500 jobs for NSW to help support and rebuild the economy and boost regional development across the state.

Turning to the Vickery extension project, we have tangible proof of this.

The IPC found the project would generate significant social and economic benefits for the local area, North West region and to NSW. This includes a direct capital investment of $607 million and up to 450 jobs during operations.

The IPC has imposed 184 conditions on the project to ensure it complies with the relevant criteria and standards, that impacts are consistent with the predictions in the Environmental Impact Statement and that residual impacts are minimised, mitigated and, where relevant, compensated for.

Whitehaven CEO Paul Flynn said Vickery would further cement Whitehaven's growing stature as a key supplier to premium overseas markets.

Vickery will be a predominantly metallurgical coal mine and service established and emerging markets in the near region.

 "As noted in its June 2020 production report, Whitehaven continues to be cautious in allocating capital to expansion noting the evolving impacts of COVID-19 on coal markets and pricing," Whitehaven said.

"While there are still considerable risks and uncertainties for the global the economic outlook given the continued spread of the virus, the fundamentals of our business model continue to remain robust."

Hogsback reckons Whitehaven's words should be music to our leaders' ears.

Despite the setbacks of COVID-19 and company boards becoming more careful about how they spend their companies' money, a major coal mining company finds the business case for a significant coal mine development still stacks up in NSW.

NSW needs to be able to convince the owners of the other 31 potential mining projects on the drawing board that it is worth persevering with the long tortuous approvals process and investing in the state.

 

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