Coal projects fast-tracked…

Mannering Colliery surface facilities and conveyor to Vales Point Power Station

Proposed changes at Chain Valley Colliery, Mannering Colliery and Vales Point Power Station have been fast tracked by the NSW Government to inject $65M into the economy and boost employment by 170 jobs.

It is one of 19 projects nominated in the third round of the NSW Planning System Acceleration Program to fast track planning assessments for shovel ready projects.

Great Southern Energy Pty Ltd, trading as Delta Coal, which owns and operates the two underground coal mines, submitted applications for Chain Valley Colliery (Modification 3) and Mannering Coal Mine (Modification 5).

These will be assessed and approval to go ahead, or not, will be determined by Friday, July 17.

Parliamentary Secretary for Central Coast, Adam Crouch, said the NSW Government’s priority was creating jobs as well as keeping people in existing jobs.

“The NSW government is continuing to pivot from COVID-19 response to recovery, and fast tracking planning assessments for shovel ready projects is one of the ways we are doing this,” he said.

The proposal is to increase the transport of coal underground from Chain Valley Colliery (CVC) to Mannering Colliery (MC), to improve operational efficiencies and allow increased processing of coal at Mannering Colliery and onward transport to Vales Point Power Station.

According to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry & Environment Assessment Report of May 2020, Chain Valley Colliery wants to increase the amount of coal transported underground from CVC to MC from 1.3 million tonnes per annum to 2.1 million tonnes per annum.

It would be transported via the existing underground linkage to the MC pit top where it would be crushed, screened and moved via the overland conveyor to Vales Point Power Station.

Delta Coal predicts that putting more coal through the underground link would result in a reduction in the number of trucks travelling above ground on private roads.

At present, Delta Coal has consent to dispatch a total of 32 laden coal trucks per hour and 270 laden coal trucks per day by public roads, but according to the report, for some years, CVC has not transported coal by trucks other than to Vales Point Power Station.

The proposal also seeks to extend the approved period of mining operation at MC to December 31, 2027, to be in line with CVC.

MC’s period of consent was due to end on June 30, 2022.

Approval is also being sought for the herringbone pillar mining method in its mine design for use within an approved mining area.

Delta Coal considers that the proposed modifications are necessary to improve the operational efficiency of the collieries, improve resource recovery rates and provide certainty of supply for future power generation at Vales Point, which generates more than 10 percent of the state’s electricity.

The Department publicly exhibited the modifications in 2019 and advice was received from nine government agencies, including Lake Macquarie and Central Coast councils, none of which raised objections.

In total, 32 community and special interest group submissions were received, with seven objecting to the modifications, with the key issues being operational noise, air quality and subsidence.

The assessment report states that the proposed modifications would generate a range of social and economic benefits including the continued employment of the CVC and MC workforce, improved energy security in NSW by contributing 50 percent of coal supply to Vales Point until 2027, additional capital expenditure of about $65M and the provision of $74M in royalties to the NSW Government.

Assessment Report 2020
NSW Dept Planning, Industry & Environment
Media release, Jun 22
Parliamentary Secretary Central Coast, Adam Crouch
Reporter: Sue Murray