The Federal Government has approved Whitehaven Coal’s Vickery extension project in New South Wales, which will see an additional 135 million tonnes of coal produced at the site over a 30-year mine life.
Federal Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio provided the final sign off after receiving 560 public submissions with more than half related to the recognition of its economic benefits.
In August 2020, the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission approved Whitehaven’s application for the Vickery extension.
This was followed by a legal battle with environmental activists in May 2021, where Federal Court Judge Justice Mordecai Bromberg threw out proceedings that would have prevented the Vickery extension from receiving Environment Minister approval.
However, the proceedings did find that Ley has a duty of care to protect young people from the future impacts of climate change.
“Whitehaven welcomes the EPBC (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) approval, which represents the culmination of an exhaustive process of technical evaluation and stakeholder consultation at both the state and federal levels spanning five years,” Whitehaven stated.
The extension will boost Vickery’s output from 4.5 million tonnes per annum to 10 million tonnes per annum.
“Against the current backdrop of record high coal prices and strong demand in seaborne markets, the company sees a continuing role for high-quality coal of the type Vickery will produce in contributing to global CO2 emissions reduction and containment efforts, while simultaneously supporting economic development in our near region,” Whitehaven stated.
The Vickery extension is expected to create 500 jobs during its construction phase and 450 jobs during operations. It will involve the construction of an open-cut coal mine around 25 kilometres north of the current Vickery mine.
Whitehaven Coal’s share price is trading at $3.09 per share at the time of writing.