Company spokesperson Dr Chris Harvey told ILN that newspaper reports of delays in planning approval for its longwall operation at NRE No 1 pushing back operation of the longwall until September were incorrect and the company had a mining lease and a subsidence management plan pending approval by the NSW Department of Resources and Energy.
“The longwall is being installed,” Harvey told ILN.
“The face is being driven and the chocks are being installed in the face this week.
“This is all predicated on the expectation of SMP approval.”
The SMP is to mine 1 million tonnes per annum from two longwalls.
Gujarat is also lodging a separate environmental assessment with the NSW Department of Planning for an expansion of the operation to 20 longwalls producing 3Mtpa and an upgrade of surface infrastructure.
“Separate from the big expansion, we’re going down the SMP path with the full knowledge of the Department of Planning,” he said.
“It’s our intention to start production in the first quarter of 2012 and things are on track to do that.”
Harvey said there was confusion over the status of the two applications, which were needed to maintain continuity of operations with the repeal of a section of the NSW mining act in 2005.
The Joy Mining Machinery longwall system will have an initial face length of 145m, though there is an option for it to be extended to up to 390m within five years.
The longwall equipment includes a shearer, 82 powered roof supports, coal clearance system, electrical substation, pump station and retractable monorail.
“Fundamentally … longwall mining is the only way to go,” Harvey said.