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Wongawilli coal mine to restart operations

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World Coal,

Wollongong Coal is to restart operations at its Wongawilli coal mine in New South Wales after placing the mine into care and maintenance last year. The decision comes after the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) last month approved a five-year extension to the Wongawilli mining license.

“After carefully reviewing the conditions of the PAC’s approval, Wollongong Coal is pleased to announce that it will proceed with recommending mining operations at Wongawilli,” said Operations Manager, Rhys Brett.

“Wongawilli Colliery is an important asset for the company and a key part of our long-term strategy for extracting and exporting high-quality coking coal for the production of steel and generating local employment opportunities.”

According to Wollongong, the restarting of mining operations will create up to 110 new jobs and generate up to US$19 million in royalties for the state government.

“We will now begin preliminary planning and discussions with key stakeholders in the expectations that operations at Wongawilli will recommence in early 2016,” added Brett.

Wollongong Coal has signed a two-year contract with Delta SBD, one of the largest contract mining companies in the Australia underground coal mining industry, to oversee and manage the recommencement of the operations at Wongawilli. Delta SBD will provide technical expertise, personnel and equipment services at the mine, as well as managing day-to-day operations.

The decision to appoint a contractor to undertake the restart and mining work at Wongawilli has, however, been criticised by local politicians, who has hoped that the company would re-employ workers that it has recently laid off.

“There is no excuse for Wollongong Coal not to offer those coal workers a first preference at these new jobs,” local MP, Anna Watson, told the Illawarra Mercury. “I remain concerned that Wollongong Coal appears to wish to employ a new contract-based workforce at Wongawilli Colliery”

The company countered that such arrangements “exist at numerous resource sector operations and will allow Wollongong Coal to benefit from Delta’s expertise.”

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