A LOCAL farmer has hit out the approval of Whitehaven Coal's $607 million Vickery Extension Project, claiming it will destroy Boggabri.
The NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC) approved the project on Wednesday morning with 184 conditions to help mitigate against environmental, social impacts and ensure the company follows its environmental impact statement.
"Boggabri will now essentially be hemmed in from all sides by large coal mines," Ms Hunter said.
"It will no longer be a farming community in any sense, but a coal mining service centre.
"Farmers near the mine will struggle to compete with Whitehaven for access to water, and the dust and noise will create major issues.
"It is clear the planning department and Berejiklian government has favoured the greed of a coal mining company over what's best for the people of NSW and our community will be paying the price for that for years to come."
But on the other end of the spectrum, Whitehaven Coal chief executive officer Paul Flynn welcomed the IPC's decision, but said more work needed to be done before construction could begin.
"Whitehaven's focus will now shift to obtaining the necessary secondary approvals and any further project optimisation as a precursor to works commencing under the new approval," Mr Flynn said.
"Vickery will be a predominantly metallurgical coal mine and will service established and emerging markets for high quality coal in our near region.
"Vickery will entail capital expenditure of $700 million is expected to generate employment for 500 people during the construction phase and 450 ongoing operational roles."
Mr Flynn said the COVID-19 pandemic would also be a factor in the progression of the project.
"As noted in its June 2020 production report, Whitehaven continues to be cautious in allocating capital to expansion noting the evolving impacts of COVID-19 on coal markets and pricing," he said.
"While there are still considerable risks and uncertainties for the global the economic outlook given the continued spread of the virus, the fundamentals of our business model continue to remain robust.
"Throughout the pandemic, our portfolio of coal products have remained sought after and well sold under long term contracts to the cornerstone high-energy, low-impurity coal markets of Japan, Korea and Taiwan, as well as burgeoning markets in developing southeast Asian nations."
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