The project modification was approved in a determination two weeks ago according to the department’s website, although an accompanying downloadable document that further confirmed this was not available there.
In making its modification application last year, the Glencore-contracted consultancy Umwelt said the previous 2011 approval gave Baal Bone up to the end of 2014 to mine longwall panels 29-31 plus “remnant areas of coal adjacent to first workings associated with earlier approved mining”.
“The mining of longwalls 29 to 31 has been completed, however, due to the decline in the market price for coal, mining of the remnant areas has not yet occurred and Baal Bone is currently on care and maintenance,” Umwelt said in the application dated October 17, 2014.
Five additional years was asked for to extract the remnant coal areas.
“Mining methods would remain the same as currently approved, namely, through the use of continuous miner using board and pillar/partial extraction mining methods,” Umwelt said.