The NSW Planning Assessment Commission has granted consent to the Wilpinjong Extension Project, just over a fortnight after a public meeting in Mudgee.
In their determination the Commission “has balanced the economic, social and environmental factors in its determination of the proposal and the submissions made, including the issues raised in written submissions to the Commission and presentations to the public meeting”.
The Wollar Progress Association questioned the time taken to hand down their determination, a week after public submissions closed.
And that of 325 submissions received a week ago, 284 or more than 87 per cent, objected on the grounds of the impacts of the mine on the remaining Wollar community, Aboriginal heritage and biodiversity.
Spokesperson Bev Smiles said, “the Commission’s decision to approve this mine after the barest possible timeframe for consideration is frankly devastating. They have completely ignored the key issues raised on the negative social impacts.”
In a statement Peabody said the company “is pleased to announce that the Wilpinjong Extension Project has been approved by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission”.
“The Project will extend the life of the Wilpinjong mine by seven years to 2033, securing the ongoing employment of the current workforce of 400, creating up to another 75 operational jobs, and securing the supply of high quality coal to domestic and export customers.
“The mine is a significant contributor to the local economy and generated approximately AUD $800 million in direct and indirect economic benefits in 2016.”