Mt Arthur closer to government approval

BHP Billiton’s $US260 million Mt Arthur coal mine expansion in the Upper Hunter Valley of New South Wales might soon be back on track after the state government declared the project was no longer “on hold”.
Mt Arthur closer to government approval Mt Arthur closer to government approval Mt Arthur closer to government approval Mt Arthur closer to government approval Mt Arthur closer to government approval

Mt Arthur truck drivers. Image courtesy of BHP Billiton.

Blair Price

“The status of the Mt Arthur assessment was on hold because the department was awaiting further information from the proponent on ecology issues and community contributions,” A NSW Department of Planning spokesman told ILN.

“These issues have now been resolved and the department is currently finalising its assessment.”

Several projects in the Upper Hunter have been put on hold over the past months as the department is especially concerned with additional air-quality modelling and assessment.

In April, the ABC’s Four Corners program whipped up more community concern on the potential health effects from coal mine dust and air pollution from power stations, especially for Singleton and Muswellbrook.

BHP’s open cut expansion, known as the MAC20 project, aims to lift saleable thermal coal production from 11.5 million tonnes per annum to 15Mtpa in the first half of 2011.

Back in December 2008, the state government approved the $300 million Mt Arthur Underground project.

This project was for a longwall operation targeting five seams over an initial mine life of 21 years.

Up to 8 million tonnes of run-of-mine production is approved from this project.

ILN is seeking more information on the status of the Mt Arthur Underground project.

Mt Arthur mine is about 5 kilometres south of Muswellbrook.

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