Liddell Coal Operations – Modification (5) to Development Consent DA 305-11-0
Mining at Liddell Coal Operations (LCO) has been in continuous operation since the 1950s. Development Consent DA 305-11-01 was granted by the Minister for Planning under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act1979 (EP&A Act) on 20 November 2002 for 21 years of continued mining operations. This DA was recently modified (Modification 5).
An Environmental Assessment (EA) has been prepared to support an application by LCO Pty Ltd to further modify DA 305-11-01(Modification 5) under section 75W of the EP&A Act. The modification (the Project) primarily relates to an extension of the existing Entrance Pit and South Pit to the south east and an associated extension in the mine life at LCO from 2023 to 2028. The extension of mining is within both the existing development consent DA 305-11-01 boundary and LCO's mining lease ML 1597. No changes have been made to the approved annual production levels, operating hours, or mining methods and equipment.
The LCO Modification (5) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was placed on public exhibition by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure (the Department) through September and October 2013. Following this, the Department requested LCO to respond to submissions made on the proposal through a Response to Submissions Report. In addition, in accordance with the requirements of the Aquifer Interference Policy, an independent expert was commissioned to undertake a peer review of the groundwater model and groundwater assessment prepared for the proposed modification. The peer review process resulted in refinement and update of the groundwater model and impact assessment. Subsequently, a revised Groundwater Impact Assessment (GWIA) of the proposed modification was prepared, and the peer reviewer deemed the model 'fit for purpose'.
Copies of the full EIS, submissions received, Response to Submissions Report and the status of the application can be viewed and downloaded here:
Community newsletters regarding the modification can be viewed here:
In addition to the NSW Planning System application, LCO also referred the modification to the Commonwealth Department of the Environment (DoE) in June 2013, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). During October 2013, LCO were advised by DoE that the Minister's delegate determined the modification to be a controlled action, and as such required assessment and a decision on approval under the EPBC Act before it could proceed. The controlled action has now been approved by the DoE. This determination was based on the following matters protected by the EPBC Act:
The removal, fragmentation and/or isolation of potential habitat for three EPBC Act listed endangered species: Spotted-tailed Quoll (Dasyurus maculatus), Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolour), and Regent Honeyeater (Acanthochaera Phyrygia); and
A likely significant impact on water resources including: Bowmans and Bayswater Creeks, as a result of surface and/or ground water impacts.
It is noteworthy that the relates to the potential for significant impact under Chapter 2 of the EPBC Act, and the Minister's delegate also decided that the project will need to be assessed through Preliminary Documentation process. This was submitted to DoE during February 2014.
On the 29th July 2014, the DoE directed Liddell Coal Operations to publish the Preliminary Documentation (PD) for the Liddell Coal Project (EPBC 2013/3908).
The Information for Assessment on Preliminary Documentation was on display for public comment between 8 August 2014 and 29 August 2014. No comments were received in response to this invitation.