'Farmers will struggle to compete': backlash after Vickery approval

Boggabri farmer Sally Hunter slams IPC's approval of Whitehaven Coal's Vickery project as mining giant admits work to be done

MOVING FORWARD: Whitehaven Coal CEO Paul Flynn shows off the five volumes of the company's Vickery Extension Project EIS. Photo: Billy Jupp

MOVING FORWARD: Whitehaven Coal CEO Paul Flynn shows off the five volumes of the company's Vickery Extension Project EIS. Photo: Billy Jupp


Farmers have slammed the decision, but the mining giant admits there is work to be done to meet more than 180 conditions that come with the approval.


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.

Also read:Independent Planning Commission approves Vickery coal extension

Lock the Gate member and Boggabri farmer Sally Hunter said the project threatened to destroy the social fabric of the Boggabri community.

"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."

Have you signed up toThe Land'sfree daily newsletter? Register below to make sure you are up to date with everything that's important to NSW agriculture.


From the front page

Sponsored by