Conventional open pit mining methods involving drill and blast, truck and shovel extraction with on-site processing would continue to be used for the modification.
The expansion would increase open cut disturbances of approximately 400ha.
While the mine would continue to use the existing approved conveyor, the rail loop would need to be duplicated and it would need to increase the maximum number of rail movements per day from 12 to 19.
The load point for the overland conveyor that delivers coal to Macquarie Generation’s Bayswater power station would need to be relocated.
A relocation and upgrade of explosives storage, magazine and associated facilities would be needed and additional offices would need to be constructed on site.
Overburden emplacement in the conveyor corridor would reduce haulage distances associated with overburden transport, thereby potentially reducing fuel consumption and consequent air quality, noise and greenhouse gas emissions.
Overburden emplacement in the conveyor corridor would also result in a final landform that is better integrated with the surrounding mineland forms, according to BHP Billiton.
“The modification would facilitate the continued employment of up to 2600 people for an additional four years,” it said.
The NSW Department of Trade & lnvestment’s Division of Resources and Energy has reviewed the Mt Arthur coal project open cut modification summary description and justification and issued a number of environmental recommendations relating to noise, water and community concerns.
“As coal is a prescribed mineral under the Mining Act 1992, the proponent is required to hold appropriate mining titles from the Department of Resources and Energy in order to mine this mineral,” the department’s acting director of minerals operations said.
“DRE understands that this modification is wholly within existing coal titles held by the proponent.
“Any environmental assessment for this project should clearly identify existing coal titles within and adjacent the project area and any new mining titles which will be required in order to undertake the project.
“The EA should include a plan showing current and proposed coal titles in relation to the project boundary.
“DRE understands that the proponent is proposing to apply for one mining lease over their existing mining leases, also incorporating current exploration licences.
“DRE considers that from an administration perspective that this would be an appropriate course of action.”