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Russell Vale plans win support

WOLLONGONG Coal’s job-saving plans to extract the first 400m of a planned expansion panel at its Russell Vale longwall mine have been referred to New South Wales’ Planning Assessment Commission.

Blair Price
Russell Vale plans win support

In June the Illawarra coal miner flagged that it would put the operation on care and maintenance, costing at least 200 jobs, if it did not receive timely government approvals.

On Friday the NSW Department of Planning and Environment recommended the planning modification be approved while referring it to the PAC, which has the state’s final approval authority.

“The proposal does not increase the mine’s existing limit of one million tonnes of coal per year and does not involve any vegetation clearing,” the department spokesperson said of the modification to mine the first 400m of the proposed 1120m long by 150m wide LW6 panel.

“The proposed layout of the mine has been changed to limit the impacts on upland swamps. The remaining impacts on the two overlying swamps are expected to be minor. Conditions imposed on the proposal would mean that all impacts would be closely monitored.”

The department took stock of the potential job losses that could occur.

“Additionally, unlocking the resources in this area of the mine would mean it could continue to employ its 300 workers,” a spokesperson said.

“As with all mining proposals, the independent PAC will now make a determination at arm’s length from government.”

The Russell Vale colliery, formerly NRE No1, has had no longwall production since December as the company awaits state government approval to mine additional panels as part of an underground expansion project applied for separately.

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