A fossil fuel extension project has been strongly supported.
The community overwhelmingly approved of Hunter Valley Operations’ (HVO’s) plan to keep mining until at least 2050.
More than 90 per cent of 1060 public submissions gave positive feedback on the proponent’s environmental impact statement (EIS). The plan involves extending production at HVO South from 2030 to 2045 and HVO North from 2025 until 2050. Existing output rates will remain unchanged.
Various amendments were made to the EIS including:
- trialling gas pre-drainage
- developing an ecological restoration plan for two ecological communities
- fast-tracking construction of a low permeability groundwater barrier wall
- developing a biodiversity offset strategy that compensates for unavoidable ecological losses
- extending part of the Lemington Road realignment by 580 metres and increasing travel time by 20 to 25 seconds
- preparing a consolidated HVO North and HVO South Aboriginal cultural heritage management plan in consultation with reconciliation action plans and Heritage New South Wales.
“Continued mining will support around 1500 ongoing jobs and enable ongoing support to local businesses, community projects and charities and essential community services such as roads, hospitals and schools,” HVO general manager Dave Foster said in a public statement.
Continued mining is promised to add a further $4 billion of benefits in net present value terms. 2022 direct economic contributions totalled nearly $1.5B, including $744 million spent with 750 businesses.
Both state and federal governments are next expected to assess the EIS.