PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Coal miner New Hope has again called on the Queensland government to approve the New Acland Stage 3 expansion, after the federal government approved its groundwater management and monitoring plan (GMMP) last week.
The GMMP approval was the final approval required at a federal level.
“In approving our GMMP, the federal government is confirming the Stage 3 project will have manageable impacts on groundwater in the area we operate,” New Hope CEO Reinhold Schmidt said.
“The plan, and the associated modelling, has now been thoroughly reviewed by four state and Commonwealth regulatory regimes as well as many independent experts, including Geoscience Australia, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Independent Expert Scientific Committee. In fact, this is potentially the most comprehensive GMMP in existence.
“The approval of this plan should put to rest the fanciful claims of the project objectors that New Acland Stage 3 will destroy the supply of groundwater in the region.
“We thank the federal government for the work they have done to finalise their part of the approvals process,” Schmidt said.
He added that it was now over to the state government to get the project up and running.
“All that is stopping the project now is the granting of our mining leases and the associated water licence from the Queensland state government.
“It was great to see the new Minister Scott Stewart use his first speech in the Queensland Parliament to talk up the importance of the sector to the state economy. I am looking forward to meeting with the Minister in the near future to work with him on a way forward for the project.
“This project will create much needed jobs for the local area and provide the economic boost the state government is looking for post Covid-19.”
Once approved the New Acland Stage 3 project will create 187 new jobs within the first six months, 487 jobs within 18 months and inject A$7-billion into the economy.
New Hope subsidiary New Acland Coal currently operates the existing New Acland mine as a 4.8-million-tonne-a-year opencut coal mine, however, the mine’s reserves are depleted. The Stage 3 expansion project will increase the mine’s yearly output to 7.5-million tonnes and will extend the operation’s life by some 12 years beyond the current end-date of mid-2020.