The Dartbrook Mine , south of Aberdeen has been given the green light to reopen until 2022.
The Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has approved the Australia Pacific Coal project to recommence operations using bord-and-pillar methods in the underground mine.
The mine has been in care and maintenance since 2006 due to operational issues and low coal prices.
The company was seeking to restart operations with an extension to their current approval which is until 2022. They did want to extend until 2027.
But, the IPC has only approved the mine until the end of that extension.
"The Commission has determined to approve part of the Application to permit mining operations up until 5 December 2022, subject to conditions of consent, namely to,"
- commence underground coal mining on the site using bord-and-pillar methods; and
- use a varied coal clearance system, including transport of coal by trucks using a private haul road to a new coal delivery shaft connecting to an existing underground conveyor to the existing coal handling and preparation plant.
The Commission concluded that partial approval of the application is acceptable because “mining operations have been approved until 2022 and bord and pillar mining has been acknowledged by the Proponent and Department as a less intensive and environmentally-impacting activity than longwall mining.”
The IPC also noted that the Proponent had committed to seal a haul road to reduce dust emissions and had proposed “reasonable and feasible” measures to minimise noise impacts and mitigate flood risks.
The IPC has also listed reasons as to why they haven't approved the mine to continue until 2027 including noise, air quality, subsidence, groundwater and greenhouse gas emissions "that haven't been fully considered in this application".
The IPC added it would not be in the public's interest.
“There is uncertainty about the Application’s future impacts as it entertains the possibility that some aspects of the currently approved Project may continue or restart after 2022 and the Application does not adequately evaluate these impacts, and how these would then affect the Project’s CBA,” the IPC noted.
This final decision comes despite strong opposition from Upper Hunter Shire Council and many locals.
Image credit: IPC