Rio Tinto will appeal a ruling by a New South Wales court that blocks an AU$ 600 million expansion of the Warkworth opencast coal mine. However, the company warned that an appeal would not come soon enough to avoid job cuts at the mine.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to avoid the loss of production and associated jobs [but] it is unlikely the legal system can deliver an outcome in time to avoid impacts for our workforce,” Harry Kenyon-Slaney, chief executive of Rio Tinto’s Energy Group told Bloomberg.
Original coal mine expansion approval overturned
The diversified miner had secured approval from the New South Wales state government to develop the Warkworth mine, but this was overturned by the state Land and Environment Court in April, saying it was not convinced the economic benefits outweighed the environmental and social costs. The proposed mine extension would bring it to within 3 km of the nearby town of Bulga.
Warkworth is part of the Mount Thorley Warkworth operation in the Hunter Valley, which also includes the Mount Thorley opencast mine. The combined operations supply both domestic and international markets with up to 12 million tpa of thermal and semi-soft metallurgical coal.
Written by Jonathan Rowland
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