THE state's peak independent planning body has concluded Shenhua Watermark's controversial open-cut coalmine on the Liverpool Plains is "approvable".
The Planning Assessment Commission released its highly-anticipated review of the Chinese state-owned company's planned $1 billion mine near Breeza.
Panel members Gabrielle Kibble, Garry Payne and Brian Gilligan were tasked with assessing the agricultural, water and health impacts of the proposal.
Despite acknowledging the "community's significant concerns" surrounding the project, they concluded the state government could approve the project, subject to the completion of some further water modelling.
"The commission has carefully considered the application," the report states. "The commission notes that the mine would not intrude onto the black soils of the Liverpool Plains, but is planned to mine an area on the less fertile slopes above the plains.
"The commission considers that the mine is approvable, subject to some further water modelling to corroborate the predicted level of impact on water.
"In conclusion, the commission is generally satisfied that the site of this proposal, on the less fertile higher ground above the Liverpool Plains, should be able to be mined without significant impacts to the agricultural productivity of the Liverpool Plains."
See tomorrow's edition of The Leader for the full story, including reaction from Liverpool Plains residents.