AusPac sees future beyond Dartbrook

AUSTRALIAN Pacific Coal’s long-term strategic focus will be on continuing to identify valuable resource investment opportunities as well as its Dartbrook asset in New South Wales.
AusPac sees future beyond Dartbrook AusPac sees future beyond Dartbrook AusPac sees future beyond Dartbrook AusPac sees future beyond Dartbrook AusPac sees future beyond Dartbrook

The approval was a significant milestone for the Dartbrook project.

AusPac chairman and CEO David Conry said in the company's annual report that approval for its Dartbrook underground project had been held up by legal challenges from the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

"The company will continue to take advantage of low entry cost resource investment opportunities that it identifies," he said.

"The company is continuing to actively assess all available options for AusPac, the Dartbrook project and shareholders."

AusPac completed the acquisition of the Dartbrook coal mine in the Hunter Valley, NSW, on May 29 2017.

In August 2019 AusPac's application to modify the existing consent for the Dartbrook Coal Mine in order to restart underground mining - MOD7 - received limited approval from the Independent Planning Commission.

"The approval was a significant milestone for the project," Conry said.

"Disappointingly the IPC determination rejected the AusPac application for a five-year extension to the current mining approvals through till December 2027."

In November 2019 AusPac resolved to lodge an appeal against the IPAC's August 2019 determination with respect to MOD7.

The appeal sought to have the decision amended, within the NSW guidelines for coal mining projects, to permit restart of the mining operations and to provide a reasonable timeframe for the mining to facilitate the necessary capital costs that would be incurred.

"In November 2020 AusPac reached agreement with the NSW minister for planning and public spaces in the Land and Environment Court proceedings the company has commenced about the determination of its application to modify the development consent for the Dartbrook Coal Mine," Conry said.

"The agreement can only become effective, and the development consent only modified, once the Land and Environment Court disposed of the proceedings in accordance with the agreement."

Conry said subsequent to reaching agreement, AusPac received a number of legal applications from the HTBA with such applications intending to potentially delay or prevent the finalisation of the proceedings on the terms of the agreement that had been reached.

"AusPac continues to withstand the applications made by HTBA and is seeking that the court disposes of proceedings on the basis it will have the effect of extending the operation of the development consent for the Dartbrook mine by five years," he said.