Scott McCalman (Letters, 16 October 2018) is welcome to his views about the Vickery Coal Mine development but some of his assertions warrant a response.
The Vickery Extension Project is not “suffocating agriculture”, nor is it being “pushed through” the planning system by the State Government.
Mining activity first started at Vickery more than 30 years ago and we hold a current approval to develop the site as an open cut operation.
There is no strategic agricultural land in either the Approved Mine area or what is being now being proposed under the Extension Project.
Our latest proposal has been the subject of a detailed technical and environmental assessment that the community can review and comment on.
There will be a public hearing to discuss the proposal administered by the NSW Independent Planning Commission.
Whitehaven will continue to sit down with a wide range of stakeholders to explain why Vickery means more jobs and a brighter future for North West NSW, and to address any concerns that do exist.
The assessment process will be fair, thorough and based on science.
I note Mr McCalman’s opinion that we do not have a social licence to operate but I would like to convince him otherwise, including through reference to the 1,500+ people we employ locally, the local suppliers with which we spent $293 million last year and the countless other business and individuals which benefit from our presence.