A spokesperson for Centennial Coal said the decision was welcome.
“We welcome the NSW Planning and Assessment Commission's (PAC) support of the Department's recommendation to approve this Modification to Sprinvale's consent,” the spokesperson said.
“This Modification sought an increase in production, the workforce and the coal stockpile and will deliver both operational efficiencies and future market flexibility.
“The changes sought to increase the workforce caters for the many existing people we redeployed from our Angus Place mine when it was placed on Care and Maintenance in late 2014.
“Importantly, this modification does not change the method of mining or the currently approved environmental footprint, with the exception of a larger coal stockpile already located in an existing cleared area of Springvale's pit top.”
NSW Minister for Planning and Housing Anthony Roberts comments on the decision to approve the mine production expansion today:
“Springvale Coal has improved its focus on monitoring and adopted an adaptive management approach to reduce potential impacts to the environment,” he said.
“Springvale Coal is the only local mine in the Central West currently supplying coal to the Mt Piper Power Station, which provides up to 15% of the State’s electricity.
“This bolsters energy security by enabling the mine to supply additional coal to the power station, ensuring it can operate at full capacity for during periods of high demand.”
Springvale mine will expand its production, bringing another 140 jobs to Lithgow.
The NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) gave the project approval on Thursday, April 20.
The expansion will allow the mine, which operates about 3km east of Wallerawang, to produce 5.5 million tonnes per annum, up from 4.5 million.
The change will see an increased workforce from 310 to 450. In its application for the modification, the company highlighted that most of its workforce is based in the Lithgow local government area. The approval allows Springvale to increase the mine’s coal stockpile capacity from 85,000 tonnes to 200,000 tonnes.
Bathurst MP Paul Toole welcomed the announcement.
“The extension will provide a great boost to the local economy and also see millions injected into the NSW economy,” he said.
“Today’s decision will help ensure the long-term viability of the mine and the continued employment of hundreds of staff.”
The modification application has been a controversial one, with concerns that the change could lead to environmental damage to nearby swamp areas and water courses, including the Coxs River.
The PAC determined the modification would not impact the quality of water inflow and water discharged.
It found that the proposed changes to water inflows were within the standards assessed and approved under the existing development consent.
Springvale is the only local mine supplying coal to the Mt Piper Power Station, which provides approximately 15 per cent of the state’s electricity.
It is is owned by Centennial Springvale Pty Limited and Springvale SK Kores Pty Limited and operated by Springvale Coal Pty Limited.
In its application, the company estimated the modification would bring a net benefit of approximately $32 million to the economy.