The controversial approval of construction of a 4th coal terminal at the Port of Newcastle has been leaked in a secret document.
The NSW Department of Planning has recommended approval of a fourth coal export terminal in Newcastle.
The internal document details how the department approved the coal terminal project, however it is subject to conditions. These conditions centre around preventing adverse environmental impacts, as well as the monitoring of the coal terminal in the future.
NSW mining growth
NSW mining has been experiencing a renewed sense of hope and optimism for the future of the coal industry. Mining companies in the Hunter Valley region have been laying down the foundations for new mining operations with the hope of breathing new life into the embattled coal sector.
“Record production volumes have been achieved”
Mining jobs in the state have suffered over the course of this financial year as mining companies reassess their operating costs in order to compete in a global market. Record production volumes have been achieved lately at the Port of Newcastle and the 4th terminal will only increase the opportunity for further increases.
“growth of NSW mining operations”
New coal mines in NSW, such as Whitehaven Coal`s Maules Creek mine, will serve to re-emphasise the need for a 4th coal terminal to complete the growth of NSW mining operations.
Opposition to NSW mining and T4 construction grows
Opposed to the 4th coal terminal, Newcastle residents and community groups have been preparing for the Planning Assessment Commission’s independent assessment of the project for almost two years. More than 1000 groups and individuals have made submissions expressing opposition to the terminal.
Regardless of this fact, the leaked 28-page document indicates the planning department recommends the T4 be approved under similar conditions to the adjacent Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) coal loader.
“T4`s approvals process is now in its fourth year”
At a public forum in Newcastle on Friday, PWCS chief executive Hennie du Plooy complained about delays to T4`s approvals process, which is now in its fourth year.
Last week, Plooy said `PWCS strongly rejects any suggestion of impropriety in the preparation of draft conditions of approval`.
Concern has been raised that the new coal terminal could cause ships to hit an existing bridge. PWCS documents say the Hunter River will be dredged to “just east“ of the bridge to accommodate coal ships at the T4 berths.