Wollongong Coal again warns of mine closure

WOLLONGONG Coal will retrench 200 workers by closing down the Russell Vale longwall mine if it does not receive timely federal government approval to extract the first 400m of a planned expansion panel.
Wollongong Coal again warns of mine closure Wollongong Coal again warns of mine closure Wollongong Coal again warns of mine closure Wollongong Coal again warns of mine closure Wollongong Coal again warns of mine closure

Courtesy of Wollongong Coal, formerly Gujarat NRE Coking Coal.

Blair Price

In its federal environmental application, which was lodged last week and made publicly available on Monday, the miner said its proposed action only involved mining the first 400m of the 1120m long by 150m wide LW6 panel.

A separate application is expected to be made to mine the rest of the planned panel, which is part of the eight blocks designated for Russell Vale’s underground expansion project.

“Time is of the essence for this action,” the company warned in its federal application.

“To ensure that operations at Russell Vale colliery can continue, thus ensuring continuing employment for the current workforce, the action will be commenced as soon as approvals under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act are granted.”

In its annual report last month, Wollongong Coal warned that it could be forced to put the mine on care and maintenance if “necessary approvals” were not forthcoming.

This threat was repeated in the recent federal environmental application.

“If the action was not taken, the Russell Vale colliery would be placed under care and maintenance upon completion of currently approved activities,” the company said.

“This would involve the retrenchment of approximately 200 employees.”

The Illawarra miner said LW6 was the only panel in which the required primary headings had been developed.

“Commencement of LW6 is the most practicable option for continuation of mining operations,” it said.

The Russell Vale colliery, formerly NRE No1, has had no longwall production since December as the company also awaits New South Wales government approval to mine additional panels.

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