The INDEPENDENT Planning Commission (IPC) is calling for community feedback on the proposed Mount Pleasant mine expansion.
A public hearing will be held by the IPC on Thursday, July 7 and Friday July 8. The panel will conduct the public hearing via videoconference with registered speakers participating remotely.
The deadline for speaker registrations is noon Monday, June 27. Written submissions will be accepted until 5pm Friday, July 15.
MACH Energy is seeking to extend the life of its Mount Pleasant operations, 3km northwest of Muswellbrook, from 2026 to 2048.
MACH plans to deepen the mine by 85 metres and extend part of the open cut area to extract an additional 247 million tonnes of coal at an increase of 21-million tonnes annually.
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment recommended the project's approval on May 31, however, the IPC is the consent authority.
The Department's backing sparked debate between those who support the expansion due to its slated benefits - including the direct employment of 600 people, $1.4 billion net contribution to the state economy and a $20 million offer to Muswellbrook Shire Council - and those who fear the environmental and health costs are "too great".
Key issues identified in the Department's assessment of the $950-million Mount Pleasant Optimisation Project included noise, air quality and greenhouse gas, water resources and biodiversity.
The expansion's Scope Three emissions, made up largely of emissions produced in coal's combustion, will be around 860Mt.
The IPC has access to the previous 250 submissions made to the Department during its assessment, 140 of which opposed the project.
High among opposing concerns is the impact on air quality. The Newcastle Herald previously reported that air quality in Muswellbrook exceeded World Health Organisation guidelines 18 times in the year to May 2022.
Commissioners Professor Alice Clark, Professor Chris Fell and Terry Bailey will form the three-member Commission Panel that will decide the development application.
Anyone wishing to have their say at the public hearing is required to pre-register via the IPC's website using the 'Speaker Registration Form'.
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