ORIGIN Energy says it will commence talks with Centennial Coal about the mining company's plans to transport coal via public roads in south-west Lake Macquarie.
Centennial has applied to the state government to truck coal between its Myuna Colliery and a site to the west of Eraring power station where coal from its Mandalong pit comes to the surface.
Centennial wants to mix the coal from the two mines as the product extracted from Myuna has become increasingly poorer in quality and is not meeting the standards required for use at the Origin Energy-owned station.
The proposal to move more than a million tonnes of coal between the two sites per year would require 62,500 truck trips on Wangi and Wilton roads.
Centennial has said it was left with little other option but to truck the coal, despite noting two alternative options in its application.
The company suggested it had pursued one of those alternatives, transporting coal from Myuna via an existing overland conveyor and mixing it with the other source at the power station, but Origin Energy was not interested.
Origin disputed that claim and said no talks had been held about the options.
"Origin has not had discussions with Centennial about this proposal," an Origin spokesperson said.
"We welcome the decision to extend the exhibition period for this application and the opportunity it will provide for us to commence discussions with Centennial."
Both companies ultimately don't want coal to be transported on public roads.
But Centennial doesn't want to build a washery at Myuna to improve the quality of coal so it can be sent via conveyor to Eraring because of infrastructure costs, noise impacts and the difficulty of disposing of reject material.
Origin doesn't want to have the coal mixed at the power station because it would lose stockpile capacity. It also is under no obligation to take the blended Myuna and Mandalong product as it can have coal brought in from a range of other mines by rail.
Centennial also has other mines it could supply from, but it says by mixing the two sources it can keep Myuna's workforce employed.
"Centennial does not want to put trucks on the road, however, we are trying to meet our contractual obligations to our customer who are very aware of our challenges," a company spokesperson said on Thursday.
"We will continue to listen to our community while also working through a process that includes further discussions with our customer."
Coal-ash Community Alliance spokesman and Wangi resident Bruce Derkenne said the "proposal from Centennial Coal clearly favours cutting costs over people's safety and has crossed a line".
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