An Authorisation was granted under the NSW Mining Act 1973, which permitted a company to explore for coal. An Authorisation may still exist however new titles, which are granted under the NSW Mining Act 1992, are now known as an Exploration Lease. When an Authorisation or Exploration Lease is granted to a company, they are legally obligated to explore for minerals, benefitting the company, economy and the state.

Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land (BSAL)

Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land (BSAL) is land with a rare combination of natural resources highly suitable for agriculture. BSAL land has been indicatively mapped across the state by the NSW Government. BSAL is further defined in the Mining SEPP.


A borehole is an exploration technique used to assess rock strata and the coal seam. The drilling process is similar to the installation of a water bore, however all sites are sealed and rehabilitated after use.


Coal is a sedimentary rock, which is an essential raw material in the production of steel, cement and power generation. The coal found in the Southern Coalfields is of a high quality and is approximately 250 million years old.

Coal Mining (underground)

Underground coal mining in Australia is done by either the bord and pillar or longwall method. In bord and pillar mining, coal is extracted in a series of parallel tunnels (bords) cut at right angles by another series (cut-throughs). This leaves blocks of coal known as pillars, which may be extracted, in a second stage of mining. Longwall mining results in large blocks of coal being totally extracted and the mine roof allowed to collapse behind the working face.


A colliery is a coalmine and the buildings and equipment associated with it.

Community Consultation

Community consultation aims to establish clear lines of communication between the coal project and the diverse stakeholder groups. The NSW Government has issued guidelines, which outline a company’s obligation to consult with the community, and provide information to stakeholders as it is made available.

Community Consultation Committee (CCC)

The Community Consultation Committee (CCC) is established by the coal company and is composed of representatives from the relevant local stakeholders. The aim of the committee is to communicate the project’s progress and a forum for the local stakeholders to communicate queries, issues or concerns.

Core Hole

A core hole is an exploration borehole where the rock is drilled and a length of core is extracted. The core is then logged and sampled by a geologist for further analysis.

Country Rock

Country rock is a geological term for the native, or usual, rock of the area.

Development Application

A development application is often submitted by a mining company to the relevant authority, seeking approval for the proposed works. This approval is commonly known as development consent.


A diatreme is a geological term for gaseous magma being forced through overlying strata. A diatreme is a type of igneous intrusion and results in broken strata, comprising of the country rock and igneous rock.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a comprehensive document, which describes the effects on the environment as a result of proposed development. The ‘environment’ refers to all aspects of the environment, such as air, water, landform, flora, fauna, and economic, cultural and social effects. An EIS is submitted to the state government and is put on public exhibition for comment.


Exploration involves a range of techniques to identify, locate and analyse a resource deposit. Some exploration techniques may include drilling, magnetic surveys and seismic surveys.


Hydrogeology is the study of water systems within soil of rock formations. A hydrogeologist will use data acquired through monitoring processes to determine important parameters of the water system. Some monitoring processes include the installation of piezometers or water sampling.

Igneous Rocks

An igneous rock is one of the three main rock types. Igneous rocks form as molten rock or magma cools and is classified by its mineral composition, grain size and texture. The locally known Mount Gibraltar is an igneous rock mass.


An Intrusion is a geological term for an igneous rock mass, which has pushed through the country rock, and either replacing or altering the chemical composition of the surrounding rock. Some examples of intrusions are dykes, sills and diatremes.

Land Access

Land Access is sought by the company, to explore for minerals on private land. Land Access is negotiated between the landholder and the company until an agreement is reached. In some cases where an agreement cannot be reached, both parties may enter into the arbitration process.


A lease is granted by the state government and gives a company the exclusive rights to explore for or mine minerals within the lease area. A number of conditions are associated with a lease and the company is obligated to undertake activity within the area.

Metallurgical Coal (or Coking Coal)

Metallurgical Coal is a type of coal suitable for carbonisation in coke ovens, used in the production of steel.


Minerals are naturally occurring substances, which have a unique colour, crystal structure and chemical composition. Coal is classified as a mineral however it is made up of organic material, which has been subject to heat and pressure over a long period of time.


Mining is a process whereby material is extracted from a mine.


Rehabilitation is the process of returning the landform back to its original condition upon completion of operations, such as exploration or mining.

Review of Environmental Factors (REF)

A Review of Environmental Factors (REF) is prepared by the company prior to undertaking operational activities, such as exploration or mining. An REF assesses the potential effects on the environment, such as land, water, noise and living organisms. An REF is submitted to the state government for approval and a set of conditions are imposed on the operation, based on what has been identified in the REF.

Sedimentary Basins

A sedimentary basin is a geological formation, whereby a depression in the landform surface has been filled with sediment over millions of years. As the sediment builds up, it is subject to heat and pressure, and result in the formation of sedimentary rocks. Some examples of sedimentary rocks include sandstone, shale and coal.

State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP)

The State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) has been designed and implemented to deal with issues environmentally significant to the state and the proposed development or operation.

State Significant Development (SSD)

A State Significant Development (SSD) is any new coal mine, production project or other large mine which are located in areas of state environmental significance, as classified in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.