The coalminer Shenhua Watermark has submitted its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) over its planned open cut coal mine north west of Werris Creek to the Department of Planning for adequacy review.
Shenhua Watermark project manager Paul Jackson said while it was a significant milestone for the company, there was still a long way to go before receiving development approval.
“Before the EIS goes on public exhibition the Department of Planning must review Shenhua’s EIS to ensure it adequately addresses all the requirements outlined in the Director-General’s Requirements (DGRs) for the project,” Mr Jackson said.
“If the department doesn’t believe we have adequately addressed all the issues then we will need to revise our EIS to address the inadequacies and re-submit it to the department for consideration.”
Shenhua received the DGRs for the Watermark Project in April this year, and has since been working toward completion of this EIS.
The key issues that must be addressed in the EIS include agricultural and other land resources; water resources; biodiversity; heritage; air quality; greenhouse gases; noise, vibration and blasting; traffic and transport; visual; waste; hazards; social and economic; and rehabilitation.
The DGR’s also require the WatermarkProject to meet all requirements contained in the new, recently completed, Strategic Regional Land Use Policy.
The Watermark coal project is planned between Breeza and Caroona and is an open cut operation extracting up to 10 million tonnes a year for 30 years and with a workforce of up to 600 employees during construction and an average of 425 fulltime equivalent employees during operation.
The project will also be assessed as State Significant Development under the new Division 4.1 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
“Part of the difficulty in developing the EIS in recent months was the knowledge, that we would have to address new rules and processes as they were made available,” Mr Jackson said.
Nevertheless, he had confidence Shenhua had submitted one of the most comprehensive EIS documents ever compiled by a mining company in NSW.
“Before the EIS goes on public exhibition the Department of Planning must review Shenhua’s EIS to ensure it adequately addresses all the requirements outlined in the Director-General’s Requirements for the project,” he said.
A copy of the Director-General’s Requirements can be downloaded from the projects’ website www.shenhuawatermark.com