Hume Coal is a wholly owned subsidiary of POSCO and is currently progressing through the NSW planning approvals process for the proposed environmentally sensitive, low-impact underground coal mine.
The Hume Coal mining proposal is not a longwall, open cut or coal seam gas mine … and never will be!
The project has been planned progressively over several years of detailed geological, engineering, environmental, financial and other technical investigations to define the coal resource, and to identify and address environmental and other constraints.
Hume Coal maintains an exploration license known as Authorisation 349 (A349). This license was granted in 1985 and covers an area of approximately 89 square kilometers. It is located roughly 100kms south of Sydney and 3kms west of Moss Vale, within the Wingecarribee Shire.
The exploration license was acquired by Hume Coal in 2010, and since then, extensive exploration has been undertaken to define the coal resource. The coal resource lies within the western portion of the Southern Coalfield, known for its high quality metallurgical (coking) coal reserves.
Hume Coal has a proud environmental record, having one of the best-managed exploration programs in the state. During exploration, the company ensured best practice drilling techniques such as above ground tanks for drilling water, providing the lowest environmental impacts and ensuring fast rehabilitation timeframes at each drill site.
The company funds the Hume Coal Charitable Foundation which has supported over 50 charities, sporting clubs and community organisations in the Southern Highlands. This program also funds the Hume Coal Corporate Scholarship Program, which is made available through the University of Wollongong (UOW).
In addition, Hume Coal supports many local apprentices and trainees across a range of occupations including business administration, landscaping, carpentry, electrical and mechanical engineering.
In 2017, Hume Coal submitted the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a culmination of years of baseline data collection for countless scientific and engineering studies. The EIS was submitted to the state government and placed on public exhibition for a 90 day period. During this time, the public were able to review and comment on the work, known as submissions.
In 2018, Hume Coal provided the Response to Submissions (RTS) report to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E) as part of the approvals process.
In late February this year (2019), the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) held a public hearing over two days in Moss Vale to hear from the community, followed by a site visit. Written submissions were also able to be lodged to the IPC up until the 6 March.
The IPC will take a couple of months to assess the submissions before providing a response in the form of a report. Once finalised, this report will be provided to Hume Coal for consideration, as well as the Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E), which will enable them to produce their final environmental assessment report. The IPC will ultimately make the final decision on the project.