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Maxwell Project Gets the Green Light

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Upper Hunter communities will reap the benefits of the NSW Independent Planning Commission’s (IPC) decision to approve the Maxwell Underground Project on December 22, 2020.

Malabar Resources welcomed the decision by the IPC to approve the Maxwell Underground Project near Muswellbrook in the New South Wales Upper Hunter.

The project will deliver about 250 construction jobs and 350 jobs during operation into the region and is set to generate $55 million in annual wages once the project is up and running.

Chairman Wayne Seabrook welcomed the announcement and said Malabar is eager to begin the necessary next steps to begin construction in 2021.

“The news is just the beginning of a much longer journey with our neighbours to ensure the project continues to meet the expectations of everyone in our community, many of whom we have been speaking with over the last eight years to get this project right.

“The Maxwell Underground Project represents immense potential for the communities of the Upper Hunter.

“The project will also support local businesses and suppliers over the next three decades, and provide a real boost to the local economy, particularly during this challenging period.”

Maxwell Ventures (Management) Pty Ltd (the Applicant), a subsidiary of Malabar Coal Ltd, sought the planning approval to develop the new mine to produce approximately 148-million tonnes of Run of Mine coal over 26 years.

The determination to give the development the green light follows the project’s comprehensive and technical review by independent experts and rigorous assessment by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (Department).

The project also underwent significant community consultation and engagement, including through the public exhibition of the project’s Environmental Impact Statement in September 2019 and a public hearing facilitated by the IPC in November 2020.

“The Commission finds that, on balance, and when weighed against the relevant climate change policy framework, objects of the [Environmental Planning & Assessment] Act, [Ecologically Sustainable Development] principles and socio-economic benefits, the potential impacts associated with the Project are manageable, and the risks of adverse impacts on the environment are low,” its Statement of Reasons for Decision noted.

Map of the Project Area

The IPC concluded the potential impacts of a new underground coal mine in the NSW Hunter Valley can be “reasonably and satisfactorily” identified, avoided, mitigated and managed, imposing 169 conditions on its development consent.

“The 169 conditions imposed by the Commission seek to “avoid serious or irreversible damage; and avoid, minimise and manage potential impacts on biodiversity and heritage,” the Commission added.

Malabar is currently reviewing the IPC’s determination, including the Commission’s Development Consent and Statement of Reasons.

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