Coal deal carries Paris provision
The new United Wambo open cut coal ‘super pit’ for NSW’s Hunter Valley has been approved with export conditions.
NSW’s Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has given the green light to the $381 million United Wambo Coal Project, allowing it to extract an additional 150 million tonnes over a 23-year period.
However, the IPC has stipulated that any coal extracted from the new ‘super pit’ near Singleton can only be exported to countries that have ratified the Paris Climate Agreement, or effective greenhouse gas-reduction policies.
Environmentalists have welcomed the conditions.
“A condition like this has never been imposed on an Australian coal mine in my experience,” said Lock The Gate coordinator Georgina Woods.
“It is unprecedented really to start putting the Australian coal export industry, of which the Hunter is really the core, into a global context of climate change and efforts to mitigate it.”
The Wambo Coal Mine and United Coal Mine, which has been under care and maintenance since 2010, will now be joined as one new ‘super pit’ operation.
The companies behind the joint venture, Glencore and Peabody, say the revived mine will provide 500 full-time-equivalent jobs and extract up to 10 million tonnes a year for 23 years, running 24 hours, seven days a week.
The NSW Minerals Council has labelled the export condition as “curious”, but welcomed the approval.
“It's a good shot in the arm for the sector to see this approval after so long,” chief executive Stephen Galilee said.
“I know from visiting the site recently that there was a lot of anxiety among the workforce there in relation to this application and to have it approved … will give them a lot of peace of mind for the future.”
Mr Galilee said minimising the impacts of mining is an “ongoing challenge”.
“As an industry, we're very aware of the need to minimise our impacts and maximise the benefits and that is a heightened awareness because so many of our mining families live in those communities near the mines where they work,” he said.
“We support the Paris Agreement, our industry supports the national government of Australia meeting its Paris Agreement commitments.
“We know we have a role to play there.”
Glencore and Peabody say they are “currently in the process of reviewing the details within the IPC's conditions of approval”.