THE Vickery coal mine extension is about to enter the final stage of its planning process, with the NSW government signalling its almost finished its investigation into the development.
NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes wrote to the Independent Planning Commission (IPC), requesting it prepare a public meeting about the Whitehaven project.
The move reveals the NSW Department of Planning has almost finished its assessment of the proposed mine. The public meeting will be the last step in the lengthy assessment process before the IPC gives its final verdict.
Once the government officially hands over the assessment to the IPC, it will have 12 weeks hold the public hearing and to make a determination.
- Narrabri Gas Project about to enter last stage of assessment
- Nation's foreign aid through ag research an untold success story
Whitehaven welcomed the news that the assessment process was moving along.
"We look forward to engaging in the last phase of the process and reaffirming the significant economic and other benefits this predominantly metallurgical coal project will deliver for the local area," a Whitehaven spokesperson said.
The state government received 574 submissions about the Vickery extension during the course of its assessment.
Around 60 per cent were in favour, noting the economic benefits of the mine. Nearly 35 per cent objected on a range of reasons and the remaining simply commented about the project.
Lock the Gate spokesperson Georgina Woods said if the IPC assessment process was conducted appropriately and the panel listened to the community, it "would have no choice but to reject" the proposal..
"A proper and frank discussion with the Boggabri community will reveal there is very little support for Whitehaven's latest horrendous mining proposal," Ms Woods said.
"Whitehaven is a repeat offender, responsible for a litany of breaches and compliance failures at its operations in north west NSW."
Narrabri Shire Council recently withdraw its support for the project over a voluntary payment agreement dispute with Whitehaven, and released a report stating it believed the company was inflating the economic benefits of the proposal to increase its chance of getting approved.