State's Upper Hunter region's coal mine expansion has received planning commission approval
State's Upper Hunter region's coal mine expansion has received planning commission approval

Australia: In the state's Upper Hunter region, a coal mine expansion that will generate about 1 billion tonnes of carbon emissions has been approved by the New South Wales Independent Planning Commission.

This option will enable MACH Energy to extend the life of the Mount Pleasant mine to 2048 and double its production to 21 million tonnes annually.

The Lock the Gate Alliance criticized the election as "reckless and irresponsible" and called for a national strategy for large-scale projects that took the climate crisis into account when assessing.

During its operation, the project will emit 876 megatons of carbon dioxide, of which 860 megatons will come from emissions due to the sale and use of coal, mostly overseas.

Nick Clyde, coordinator of Lock the Gate in NSW, said: "It's insane that an appraisal authority like the IPC could wave through a coal mine that would be solely responsible for 876 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, as humanity faces a climate disaster." is on the verge of it." ,

The Paris Agreement calls on countries to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, but the project is the largest coal mine expansion approved in the state since that call, and is completely inconsistent with that commitment.

The coalition urged the federal minister of environment and water, Tanya Plibersek, to oppose the project. The minister still has to decide whether the project should go ahead.

It follows the introduction of legislation by the Greens that would add "climate triggers" to existing national environmental laws, which prohibit developments that emit more than 100,000 tons of carbon.

Additionally, a federal assessment of developments that emit 25,000 to 100,000 tons of carbon would be required.

According to Wendy Wells of Denman Aberdeen Muswellbrook Scion Healthy Environment Group, the expansion is "another nail in the coffin of our local environment" and has resulted in additional critically endangered habitats and corridors used by regionally threatened wildlife. There will be loss.

"This mine will not proceed," she said, "if the critical problem of catastrophic climate change is understood by our politicians—state and federal, Labor and Coalition.

According to the commission's decision, out of 960 public submissions it received, 689 were in favor of the project, 251 were against it, and 20 were comments only.

It claimed that the submissions in favor of the project were motivated by its economic benefits and there were concerns about the impact of mine closures on local communities.

Most of the criticism focused on emissions, climate change and air quality.

According to the commission, the project will "achieve an appropriate balance between relevant environmental, economic and social considerations" and must be approved under strict conditions.

The commission, in its statement of reasons, said it had received submissions expressing concern about the project's emissions and its impacts on future generations and the climate.

According to the terms of the Paris Agreement, the 860 megaton Scope 3 emissions, however, were "attributable to the country within which they are emitted," it said.

The remaining projected emissions were, according to the study, "consistent with current national and NSW policy settings and commitments."

The Commission observed that the environmental impacts of the project can be reduced or even eliminated.

It also stipulated that the business should outline in its biodiversity management plan how it would prevent or reduce serious or irreparable damage to a newly identified legless lizard at the mine site.

According to MACH Energy's Managing Director, Ferdian Poornamasidi, the decision was a turning point for the Hunter community, where structural change was taking place and some mines were closing or closing.

In their words, "Today's decision by the IPC ensures that Mount Pleasant can continue to contribute to those local communities and the state as a whole for many years to come."

In the coming years, he claimed, the mine would receive more than $1 billion in additional funding, and local operating employment would increase from 380 to 830.

The company will "continue to take an evidence-based approach to fulfilling our responsibilities," he said, acknowledging the "important conditions" attached to the approval.

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