By Taylah Fellows
LAST week the NSW Independent Planning Commission approved modifications for the Dartbook mine, near Aberdeen, allowing mining to recommence.
The IPC did not grant Australian Pacific Coal a five year licence extension, with their current licence expiring on December 2022.
Steve McDonald, general manager of the Upper Hunter Shire Council, which made three extensive submissions to the IPC opposing the modifications said they would have preferred the modifications were refused and they believe the current time frame for operation may make it difficult to operate the mine.
“We think it may be difficult to operate that mine during that short period of time,” said Mr McDonald.
“It will be difficult to re-activate the mine with the constraints they’ve been given, not to say they can’t do it, but it will be difficult,” he said.
“They have to activate the mine again and need approvals and financial injection capital, resources and time to do that,” he said.
“They need money to make that happen and they’ve only been given a very short time to make that happen,” he said.
“The current approval allows them to use trucks to transport of the coal if it does reactivate and that could mean disruption to Aberdeen,” Steve McDonald said.
Mr John Robinson, Executive Chairman of Australian Pacific Coal, said in a statement they were disappointed the licence was not extended, but gave no indication if it would make restarting the mine problematic in the current timeframe.
“The determination of MOD 7 has taken many months and whilst the main elements of mining and transport were approved, it is disappointing the IPC did not approve the additional 5 years of mine life,” said Mr Robinson.
“The application was subject to significant support and scrutiny from the local community and we will endeavour to work closely with all stakeholders as we embark on the next phase for Dartbrook,” John Robinson said.
AQC Dartbrook Management Pty Ltd plans to extract six million tonnes of run-of-mine (ROM) coal annually once the mine is re-activated.