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Wongawilli mine application approved by PAC

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World Coal,

The New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission has approved Wollongong Coal’s application for a five-years extension to extract coal at its Wongawilli coal mine, according to a company statement.

“Wollongong Coal welcomes the PAC’s decision to approve this simple time-extension application, which paves the way for mining operations to resume at Wongawilli and will bring back employment and other benefits to the Illawarra and New South Wales, said Rhys Brett, Operations Manager at Wollongong.

“Wollongong Coal has an exciting vision for its future in the Illawarra and this approval is a key part of our long-term plan to bring further jobs and investment to the region,” Brett continued.

Wollongong Coal placed the Wongawilli mine into care and maintenance last year. The PAC determination will allow mining activities previously approved by the commission in 2011 to continue to another five years. The approval does not change the project area size or the amount of coal to be extracted.

The PAC is also considering a proposed expansion to Wollongong Coal’s Russell Vale longwall operation. Earlier this month, the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) confirmed that the project had satisfied matters raised by previously by PAC, particularly relating the safeguarding of Sydney’s water supply.

“The UEP has been subject to an unprecedented level of scrutiny and this latest report yet again confirms the Project poses no threat to Sydney’s drinking water or water supply,” Brett said in a press release. “DPE’s Addendum Report adds further weight to the significant body of scientific evidence that puts to rest residual concerns about potential impacts on Sydney’s drinking water, the Cataract Reservoir and upland swamps.

Russell Vale was placed into care and maintenance in early September with the loss of 80 employees. According to the DPE, the expansion project “would result in unequivocal social-economic benefit to the region and the state.” A decision is expected by the end of the year.

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