A decision by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission to approve the reopening of a Blue Mountains mine will see most of of its output of 2.7 million tonnes of poor quality nut coal shipped to Bomaderry.
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Once there, it will be used to provide power for Manildra’s starch mill and ethanol plant.
The mine is in a region of the Blue Mountains the Planning Assessment Commission had previously deemed to be "incompatible with the significant conservation of the site". The site is close to the Gardens of Stone.
The commission's determination supporting the extension of the Invincible Coal Mine also came despite its conclusion that the current state of rehabilitation on the site had been "suboptimal" and a requirement to fill three residual voids was "unlikely to be achieved".
Greens resources spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said it was "bonkers" to approve reviving an old coal mine in "the incredible Gardens of Stone ... just so [Manildra] can convert their Shoalhaven flour mill from gas to old fashioned coal boilers".
“In 2018, we should be assisting industry to transition to renewable energy, not approving new dirty, destructive coal mines," Mr Buckingham said.
The independent agency had previously rejected a mine proposal made by then owner Coalpac Corp that had been granted by the Labor government in 2008. In its 2014 report, the commission said open-cut mining intruding into the nearby towering sandstone pagodas in the Gardens of Stone posed "unacceptable risks and impacts, and only limited short-term benefits".
Castlereagh Coal, the project's owners since 2015, won a reversal of the commission's verdict by pledging to contain the mine's additional disturbance to 38 hectares and to complete unfinished rehabilitation work.
The mine's output would be 2.7 million tonnes of poor-quality fuel known as "nut coal", which would mostly head to Manildra's Shoalhaven Starches Plant at Bomaderry.
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