Rixs Creek coal mine extended in 24 hours for another 21 years
The Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has approved Bloomfield Collieries’ proposed expansion of Rixs Creek South coal mine in the Hunter Valley. The announcement came just 24 hours after the deadline for public comments on the proposal.
18 October 2019: The mine was due to shut next year but will now be continuing until 2040. The expanded mine will emit an extra 71 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, as well as ongoing noise and dust pollution in an area already heavily impacted by mining.
The announcement of the determination came just 24 hours after the extended deadline for public comments on the proposal. The EDO NSW submission on behalf of Hunter Environment Lobby – listed on the IPC website as ‘EDO NSW on behalf of Hunter Environment Lobby’, totalling thousands of pages including several expert reports – was submitted at noon on Friday 11 October 2019. The approval was announced the next day, Saturday 12 October 2019.
A week earlier, on Friday 4 October, the IPC released an invalid approval for the Rix’s Creek expansion hours before the then-deadline for comments. The invalid approval was reversed just hours after its release and a one-week extension given for public comments.
In a statement of reasons for the determination, the IPC stated it has “adequately assessed” all community members’ uncertainties and is now allowing an expansion of mining activities to the south and northwest of existing pits one and three. The IPC determined that the expansion was in the public interest as Rix’s Creek is an existing mine site.
The IPC states that conditions on the approval “Prevent, minimise and/or offset adverse social and environmental impacts, set standards and performance measures for acceptable environmental performance, require regular monitoring and reporting and provide for the ongoing environmental management of the development”.