The New South Wales Independent Planning Commission (IPC) has approved a AUS$381mn to be developed by Glencore and US coal producer Peabody.
The Glencore Peabody joint venture (established in 2014) will focus on combining the existing operations at the Wambo brownfield open-cut coal mine, operated by Peabody, and the coal reserves at Glencore’s United underground mine, currently on care and maintenance.
The development proposes to produce 10 million tonnes of coal per year across a 23-year mine life at United Wambo which is located in NSW’s Hunter Valley. The main customers for Wambo coal are in Japan, Korea and China. In 2018, 3.6 million tonnes of coal were sold from the Wambo open cut mine, resulting in AUS$950mn in direct and indirect economic benefits.
The IPC assessment noted that Glencore Peabody had “adequately assessed” environmental impacts and were pleased existing operational mining infrastructure would be used at the brownfield site. The IPC’s approval comes with conditions relating to the protection of biodiversity and air quality, while considering the impact on the climate of greenhouse gas emissions.
The United Wambo coal project is expected to deliver AUS$414mn of economic benefits to NSW, allied to AUS$369mn in royalties across the life of the project.