The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment said it wants to know the community’s views on the application which also seeks approval to include three new longwall panels at the mine located 10 km from Cessnock.
Mining operations within the Stage 3 area of the Austar coal mine have been suspended for the time being. This has caused a discontinuity to Stage 3 longwall operations. The modification is required to address this discontinuity in longwall mining operations in the medium term and to maintain employment at Austar.
The key components of the modification include an extension to the Bellbird South consent area to cover the three longwall panels, and an extension to the life of the consent to allow for mining of three longwall panels and application of a contemporary extraction plan condition to cover the new workings. No change to surface facilities or production rates is proposed.
The modification will facilitate the recovery of an addition of approximately 4.5 million tonnes of ROM coal using conventional longwall mining methods and maximises the use of existing infrastructure and facilities.
A spokesperson for the department said the local community always has an opportunity to share their views.
“Community consultation is an integral part of the planning process and the applicant will have to respond to the feedback we receive and this is taken into consideration when we develop our recommendations,” the spokesperson said.