We‘re proposing to extend the life of HVO North Mine from 2025 until 2050 and HVO South Mine from 2030 until 2045.
We have carefully designed and refined the proposal based on ongoing consultation with Government agencies, local residents and community groups.
There will be little change to the scale or intensity of mining and no increase to approved annual production rates. At HVO North, the development and disturbance boundaries between Mitchell and Carrington pits will extend.
At HVO South, the annual extraction rate will reduce, and some areas approved for mining will remain undisturbed.
We will relocate some electricity and telecommunication infrastructure and upgrade and extend some mine processing and train loading facilities to continue mining efficiently and responsibly.
Lemington Road will be realigned from near the New England Highway to Comleroi Road. A new bridge over the Hunter River will replace the flood prone Moses Crossing.
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This is not a new mine. Coal has been mined onsite for more than 70 years.
Our high-quality coal is in demand by other countries to meet short to medium term energy needs.
There’ll be little change to the scale or intensity of mining and no increase to approved annual production rates.
The proposal is in line with the NSW Government’s Strategic Statement on Coal Exploration and Mining in NSW and Hunter Regional Plan 2041 which recognise the importance of coal production to NSW and its regional communities.
Continuing mining at our existing site brings many benefits to local people, businesses, charities and the community.
1500 ongoing jobs + 600 temporary jobs
Safer, time saving, road and new bridge
Continued support for businesses
Improved final rehabilitation
Continued Government royalties and taxes
Improved water management
Continued charity and community support
Final voids ↓ from 4 to 2
- Ongoing employment for around 1500 people plus 600 temporary construction jobs during infrastructure upgrades.
- Continued benefit to businesses from HVO buying goods and services. HVO works with about 750 suppliers.
- Continued support for communities and infrastructure through taxes, royalties, and other government payments that help build schools, roads and hospitals and fund the wages of teachers, nurses and Police.
- Continued community support through HVO community grants, sponsorships and charity funding.
- A realignment of Lemington Road and a new bridge to replace the flood prone Moses Crossing will give road users a faster, safer and more reliable route in wet weather.
- Improved final site rehabilitation using natural landform design principles. The number of final voids will reduce from four to two.
- Improved water management infrastructure with upgrades to Parnells Dam, Lake James, and new flood protection levees and clean water drainage systems.
Approvals Process and Timeline
The Project is being assessed for approval by both the NSW and Federal governments.
After reviewing HVO’s Scoping Report the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) issued the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) for the Project to provide guidance on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
HVO commissioned independent consultants EMM Consulting to co-ordinate detailed technical, environmental and social impact studies. The results of these studies and other consultation informed the Project design and the preparation of the EIS. The EIS details how HVO will avoid, minimise and manage any impacts.
The EIS was placed on public exhibition in February 2023. HVO has reviewed all submissions and in November 2023 has submitted a Submissions Report and Amendment Report to DPE. DPE and other agencies will now further assess the reports and proposal.
The Federal Government will independently assess the Project in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Thank you to the community members, businesses, groups, local councils and government agencies that gave their feedback on the EIS and during earlier stages of the Project design.Read our submissions report on the Major Project website for HVO North
Conceptual Mine Plan Design
Commencement of Social and Environmental Studies Lodgement of Scoping Report with DPE
Refinement of Mine Plans and completion of O Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
Lodgement of EIS for assessment
Public exhibition of the EIS
Review submissions and prepare report
Lodgement of Submissions Report/Amendment Report to DPE and EPBC Act Referrals to the Federal Government
Assessment and determinationWe are here.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is proposed?
Hunter Valley Operations (HVO) is seeking approval to extend the life of its two Hunter Valley mines – HVO North and HVO South – to continue to produce high quality thermal coal and metallurgical coal that is in demand on world markets.
Under the proposal, HVO North will continue to 2050 and HVO South to 2045. There will be little change to the scale or intensity of mining and no increase to approved annual production rates.
How will HVO’s continuation benefit local people and the region?
HVO’s direct economic contribution in 2021 was $862 million. By continuing mining HVO will be able to:
- provide around 1500 ongoing local jobs and 600 temporary jobs while upgrading infrastructure
- support suppliers and businesses – HVO spends more than $500 million annually with more than 700 suppliers, many of them local
- support community groups and charities through its community grants, charity partnerships and fundraising, workplace giving and sponsorship programs
- support governments to provide hospitals, schools, roads and other community infrastructure through taxes and royalties.
When do the current approvals run out?
HVO North is approved to operate until 2025. HVO South is approved to operate until 2030.
How can you extend the mine’s life without expanding mining areas?
At HVO North an additional area between our West and Carrington pits will be mined but we will largely be mining deeper seams in existing mining areas. At HVO South, the annual extraction rate will reduce, and some areas approved for mining will remain undisturbed.
Are you increasing the annual amount of coal extracted beyond what is currently approved?
No. The annual production rate will not increase above current approved rates.
HVO North has approval to mine up to 22 million run of mine (ROM) tonnes per annum. This will not change. HVO South has approval to mine a maximum of 20 million ROM tonnes per annum. This will reduce to a maximum of 18 million ROM tonnes per annum.
How does HVO mine coal currently? Will this change?
HVO’s open cut mines produce high quality thermal coal and metallurgical coal predominately using truck and shovel mining methods. Coal is processed at onsite coal preparations plants, and generally transported via rail to the Port of Newcastle.
There will be no real change to the way we undertake mining aside from continual improvements to efficiency and minimising community and environmental impacts.
What impacts will the project have on surrounding communities and the environment and how are you addressing them?
As part of its review of submissions made on the proposal and EIS, HVO completed 12 additional technical studies, assessments and reviews in areas such as Aboriginal cultural heritage, air quality, emissions, water management, traffic, visual amenity, biodiversity and ecology. These studies and reviews informed further improvements or provided information to support plans for minimising impacts.
What infrastructure will be upgraded? Why is this needed?
To continue to operate with increased efficiency, we will need to upgrade some existing mine infrastructure areas, coal preparations plants and rail load out facilities. We propose to realign a section of Lemington Road along with some power and telecommunication lines.
Who approves the project and when will the decision be made?
The Project will be assessed by the NSW and Federal governments. The timing of a decision rests with those government processes. After the public exhibition of the EIS, the governments will use community and government agency feedback to decide whether to approve the Project. The NSW Department of Planning and Environment may refer the Project to the Independent Planning Commission.
Have you consulted the community on this proposal already and what are people saying – does the project have support?
We have consulted the community and agencies extensively over several years during scoping, design and the preparation of the EIS. We are thankful for their feedback which has been incorporated into the final design and impact minimisation plans.
How can the community have a further say on this project?
The NSW Government has placed the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on public exhibition from Janaury 30.
The Government will look at feedback from the community when deciding whether to approve our proposal. We encourage people to make a submission, including if they support the proposal.
Read the EIS summary booklet on more information and links to making a submission.
Who has done your studies and are they independent?
Independent consultancy firm EMM coordinated environmental and technical studies, and development of the EIS. EMM is highly experienced in this type of work.
The studies have looked at impacts, including cumulative impacts, on a range of issues including noise, air quality, water, biodiversity, heritage, traffic, and visual amenity. The studies are detailed in the EIS.