Shenhua’s Watermark Coal Project Approved by PAC
The NSW mining sector received some good news late yesterday with the Planning and Assessment Committee (PAC) announcing it had approved Shenhua’s Watermark Coal Project.
Earmarked for a pocket of land approximately 25km south-east of Gunnedah, the mine is expected to produce 10 million tonnes of coal per annum for the next 30 years.
The company claims the mine will create 600 full time (equivalent) jobs during construction and around 430 jobs when fully operational.
The proposed $1.2 billion mine has attracted much controversy since it was first announced with local farmers concerned it was a waste of highly fertile agricultural land. Local land owners have also expressed concern over water management issues and the affect the mine would have on the local koala population.
The PAC approval comes subject to a number of strict environmental requirements concerning protection of area’s fertile black soil, water management, protection of the local koala population and conservation of Aboriginal heritage.
The mine will be open cut and will include a coal handling prep plant, rail spur and loop as well as communications and electrical infrastructure.
Project manager for Shenhua, Paul Jackson, aid he was looking forward to getting started on the project after a long wait.
“Today is the final step in a long journey through the NSW approvals process. It has not been without challenges and both PACs have undertaken rigorous examinations of key aspects of the Project to confirm there will be no impacts on the wider agricultural production of the adjacent Liverpool Plains,” Jackson said.
“We have been subjected to detailed investigations at every step of the journey and the community can have confidence our assessments have been tested and confirmed by an independent panel of experts who have scrutinised every aspect of the project.
“We will not mine on the Liverpool Plains and the PAC has once again confirmed the irrefutable evidence showing the Project will not harm the valuable irrigation groundwater accessed by those who farm on the plains.”