The Bloomfield Group (Bloomfield) has announced that it is encouraging members of the community to review and comment on the Rix’s Creek Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which has been placed on public exhibition as of 3 November 2015.
The company will also progress consultation and information initiatives to ensure that the EIS is understood. The EIS is part of Bloomfield’s endeavor to obtain consents to continue operations at its Rix’s Creek Coal Mine at Singleton until 2038.
“The EIS emphasises that this is a continuation of mining endeavour first and foremost, not an expansion of mining endeavour,” Rix’s Creek General Manager, Mining Development, Garry Bailey, said. “It will be pretty much business as usual at the site and the community should notice very few changes. Exhaustive work has gone into developing the EIS with a heavy reliance on community feedback to be sure we continue operating in line with community expectations. As people know we’re a family and locally-owned operation, so working closely with the community is always a top priority. That’s why we’re now asking the community to take a more detailed look at the direction we’re taking and provide more feedback.”
The EIS showed that continuation of open cut mining at Rix’s Creek would allow operations to progress in a westerly direction away from Singleton, as always intended when the mine started in 1990. This westward progression will allow Bloomfield to access over 50 million ‘run-of-mine’ (ROM) t up until 2038, when open cut operations are expected to wind down.
From this, coal extraction would continue at an average rate of about 2.8 million ROM tpy over the new consent period, although there may be provision to increase extraction to 4.5 ROM million t for a short period by about 2021 (to maintain market supply if resources at the company’s Ashtonfield mine near Maitland are exhausted).
38 million ROM t have been extracted from the mine to date and existing operational consents are in place until 2019.
The EIS shows that economic benefits would be: some 130 jobs would remain with the potential to create 100 additional jobs closer to 2023.
As has occurred over the past 25 years, excavated areas will be reshaped and rehabilitated behind the mining areas, in order to return the land to a balance of pasture and treed areas.
“It’s important to remember that we’ve built a reputation for responsible environmental management based on consents imposed 25 years ago,” Mr Bailey added. “The modern consents we’re seeking are far more stringent, which should give the community extra peace of mind.”
Bloomfield has stated it is considering underground operations at Rix’s Creek beyond 2038. However, this would be the subject of a separate application at the time and studies would have to be undertaken to determine if underground mining would be feasible.
Bloomfield’s recent purchase of Integra Mine’s open-cut and surface facilities from Vale - leading to the creation of ‘Rix’s Creek North’ - is unrelated to the application for renewed operational consents.
Edited from press release by Angharad Lock
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/coal/12112015/bloomfield-welcomes-comments-on-eis-1602/