Australia Grants Approval for Whitehaven’s Maules Creek Mine

Australia’s environment minister gave conditional approvals for the proposed Maules Creek and Boggabri coal mines in New South Wales state, asking for additional work to minimize their environmental impact.

The federal environment department last week said it was delaying approvals for Whitehaven Coal Ltd.’s A$766 million ($789 million) Maules Creek and Idemitsu Kosan Ltd.’s Boggabri mine to jointly assess the environmental impact of the two projects, located in close proximity in the state’s Gunnedah basin. Minister Tony Burke also gave conditional approval for AGL Energy Ltd.’s Gloucester coal seam methane project.

“In each of these three additional approvals there is more work to be concluded before the project can actually proceed,” Bourke said today in an e-mailed statement.

The Maules Creek and Boggabri projects, in an agricultural region and in a state forest, have been opposed by environmental and farming groups.

Conditions include limits for clearance of native vegetation and provisions for offset areas of more than 15,000 hectares (37,065 acres) to compensate for works related to the coal developments, according to the statement. The approval for the Gloucester project is subject to AGL meeting 36 conditions, it said.

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