Moolarben's UG expansion approved

YANCOAL's stage two expansion project for the Moolarben mine, which introduces two new underground mining areas plus an open cut, has received long-awaited approval from the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission.

Blair Price
Moolarben's UG expansion approved

The expansion of the Upper Hunter Valley mine will lift approved capacity from 12 million tonnes run-of-mine to 16Mtpa ROM, with a total of 4Mtpa permissible from two proposed underground operations.

While the purely open cut mine-based stage one approval allowed for 21 years of mining, the stage two project has a 24 year life – with Yancoal saying it potentially creates up to 120 fulltime jobs.

The stage two project faced its second PAC review in December, with PAC previously knocking it back in May 2014 after making various recommendations.

Yancoal’s successful changes included modifying its out-of-pit emplacement area to reduce impacts to endangered ecological communities.

“Today’s approval for the Moolarben Stage Two Project provides greater certainty for our people, the community and the many local contractors and service providers who continue to support our operations,” Yancoal CEO Reinhold Schmidt said.

“The Stage Two project will provide new opportunities for investment and employment within the region and demonstrates Yancoal Australia’s long-term commitment to the Australian resources sector during a period of significant economic challenge.

“As we continue to expand our operations, we remain focused on operating to the highest safety and environmental standards.”

Yancoal said Moolarben employed more than 300 fulltime workers and produced 6.4 million tonnes of saleable coal in 2014 – up 1% from the previous year.

The mine mainly produces thermal coal and is 80% owned by Yancoal, while Kores Australia and Sojitz Corporation own 10% each.

As of last year, Yancoal was aiming for first longwall coal under the stage two plans in 2018 while the expansion project was expected to create 200 construction jobs.


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