WHITEHAVEN Coal has jumped another planning process hurdle with the approval of its Tarrawonga coal mine expansion.
The NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) made its determination on the project last week, just a month after it heard the public’s views on the assessment.
The mine, about 15km north east of Boggabri, will partly be expanded into an area of the nearby Leard State Forest.
Whitehaven hopes to increase coal production from two to three million tonnes a year and extend the project life by 17 years.
The extension, now subject to federal approval, comes three months after Whitehaven’s biggest project, at Maules Creek, was approved by the PAC.
Like the Maules Creek project, which also awaits federal approval, the Tarrawonga expansion will be subject to a series of stringent conditions.
Whitehaven Coal managing director Tony Haggarty said they welcomed the PAC’s determination and they were committed to working within the stringent conditions placed on the project.
“We also welcome the PAC’s approach to the management of cumulative impacts with the nearby Boggabri and Maules creek mines,” Mr Haggarty said.
The Tarrawonga mine currently has consent to extract 16.4 million tonnes of coal, at a rate of up to two million tonnes a year.