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The Warkworth black coal mine is operated by Warkworth Mining Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto Coal Australia. It is an open cut coal mine situated in the Hunter Valley Region of New South Wales, north east of the small village of Bulga. The current Warkworth Mine operates under a development consent issued under the NSW EPA (Environmental Planning and Assessment Act) 2003. This authorisation licences the mine to continue operation until 2021. An important condition to the mine complying with its licence conditions concerns the natural vegetation and landforms to the mines south west, west and north remaining designated as habitat management and non-disturbance areas.

Warkworth Mine Extension

The Warkworth mine had earlier been granted approval to extend the Warkworth mining project beyond its expiry date but this authorisation had been withdrawn under a successful appeal against the initial approval decision. However, in October, 2015, Rio Tinto obtained agreement from the Planning Assessment Commission Review Panel to extend the mine to allow it to produce 10 million tonnes of thermal coal a year after its current permit expires in June, 2017. In announcing its finding the Commission stated it was satisfied the project's benefits as currently understood outweighed any potential impacts and that on balance the project is approvable. On November, 27, 2015, the NSW Planning Assessment Commission finally approved the mine expansion that will see the mine’s life extended by over 20 years. The approval allows for a new open cut mine to be established near the village of Bulga.

The facts concerning the Warkworth Extension Project

The original approval, that allowed the Warkworth Extension Plan to go ahead, was supported by the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Climate, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and other state regulatory agencies.

The recommendation for approval granted by the NSW Department of Planning was referred to an independent Planning assessment Commission that was made up of experts in their specific fields. This commission conducted a series of public hearings before they also gave approval to the project going ahead on behalf of the New South Wales state government in early 2012.

The extension approval was imperative to the future of the Warkworth mine being able to continue employing its full workforce. In fact if the extension approval was to be re-granted it would mean the addition of a further 150 jobs over and above the current 1,300 workforce.

The extension plan also included the rehabilitation of an area eight times the area actually experiencing coal mining activities.

The Warkworth Extension Project is part of the continuing of mining operations at the Thorley Warkworth coal mine that exists within the mines tenements that expire in 2021. The extension relied on this being extended to 2033. Current production rates are approximately 12 million tonnes a year. The extension would therefore produce 144 million tonnes of coal.

Mining at Warkworth has Continued for 30 years

The Mount Thorley Warkworth coal mine has been operating for the last 30 years and the company claims the court decision to not allow it to expand into the future puts into doubt the jobs of its 1,300 workers, as well as the snowballing effect it will have on its 1,000 suppliers who earned over $600 million from the mine in 2012

Warkworth Mine Contributes to Local Communities

Coal and Allied has been mining coal in the Hunter Valley for over 165 years. It currently operates three open cut mines in the region including Warkworth Mining Limited, Warkworth Mount Thorley Mine. In 2012 it employed a total of 2,700 people and spent over $1.7 billion doing business with 1,300 different companies throughout New South Wales. It has invested over $15 million in Hunter Valley communities and plans to spend a further $4.5 million over the next three years supporting smarter, stronger more sustainable communities with the mining company's operations.

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a major producer of iron ore, coal, bauxite, alumina, aluminium, uranium, copper, gold, diamonds, salt and energy across the globe. Businesses include open pit and underground mines, refineries, smelters, mills and power stations. Also a number of research facilities more


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Perth, WA 6000



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