The much-anticipated extension of the joint venture between Glencore and Peabody for the United Wambo Coal Mine, went before the Planning Assessment Committee on February 6.
The PAC met in Singleton was held recently to hear from both those for and those opposed to the new joint venture. The project will see the utilisation of the existing Wambo infrastructure, with minimal additional disturbance and no increase in approved annual throughput of the Coal Handling Preparation Plant and rail loop. It allows for a more modern approval and the opportunity to provide a better outcome in the final mine design for the community. The modifications will see approximately 150M Run-Of-Mine tonnes recovered.
Gary Wills, Operations Manager Glencore said they were there to present to the PAC all the benefits of the extension, not the least the significant economic benefit it would bring to the region and the state.
“This project adds over $820 million in government royalties and provides significant economic benefit to both the region and the state to the tune of $2.1 billion dollars in gross regional product and $3 billion in state product,” Gary said.
This extension will add another 23 years to the life of the mine and guarantee the employment of the 250 current employees. Plus, once it’s up and running it will employ another 250 workers and a further 120 construction workers during the development period.
Scott Brittiffe, President Wambo Lodge was there on the day to show his support. “If we don’t get approval for the extension the fallout will be massive. Not just for all those workers mentioned, but for the Hunter region. Jobs, community services, schools, and local businesses will all miss out. It will certainly damage Singleton and the outlying areas,” Scott said.
The main opposition to the extension is because of the environmental impacts such as dust and noise and Scott told us he could understand the concerns.
“We are under heavy restricted conditions in relation to dust and noise and we understand that these are issues that can affect the community, which we understand and will minimize, but we need this extension and this approval to go forward into the future for our next generation of coal miners.”
“Being an operator myself at Wambo, I can tell you first hand that when we have windy and dry days we pull up. None of us want it to impact the community. Our families live in the community too,” Scott added.
Prior to the PAC hearing, the IPC review found ‘that the project has merit if it can satisfactorily and genuinely address the various recommendations contained within this review report.’
@ The Coalface has seen all the hard work done to make this extension work. This is a project that must get the green light. It’s much lighter on the development and impacts side of things and should be a great fit for those that want lighter mine development. It’s smack bang in the middle of existing operations and brings a bright future to local families and the community. Let’s all hope that common sense prevails.