Whitehaven Coal on track to grow, despite increasing 'green tape'

November 20, 2013

Green tape has overtaken red tape as a concern for miners in NSW, according to CEO and Managing Director of Whitehaven Coal Paul Flynn.

Speaking at a recent Hunter Business Chamber Mining lunch in Newcastle, Mr Flynn questioned why the NSW Government hadn't been more supportive of the coal industry and said that increased regulation and duplication, coupled with activism, had made the assessment process for Whitehaven Coal's Maules Creek mine extremely challenging. 
"You only need to look at the twists and turns we've had to take in order to move this project forward. This has changed the views of our partners about where they want to invest their dollars," he said. 
"We are very close it it now. It has been a hard grind. Activism has been a big part of that and that's been frustrating because so much of it has been funded by international activists, not concerned locals."
The former Tinkler Group executive told the audience of around 250 Hunter mining and services business leaders that despite the challenges, the outlook was positive for Whitehaven Coal, whose vision is to be Australia's premier ASX listed independent coal company.
"There is a lot of potential for development over time due to the high quality of the resource in the Gunnedah Basin, compared with the Galilee and Surat basins in Queensland," he said. 
"Maules Creek attracts a lot of attention, but it is a significant asset for the business with reserves of 360 million tonnes. It will double our profile. 
"It is also going to be a significant contributor to the state with another 400 - 500 jobs in the area and $6.5 billion in royalties and corporate tax over the first 21 years of the project."
The company's output has increased significantly this year as production ramps up production at its Narrabri North Mine. It is the company's first longwall operation and production targets are already being met and exceeded. Annualised production reached 6.8 million tonnes per annum for the period between August and October.   
Whitehaven Coal is the single biggest employers in the Gunnedah region and says it is committed to continuing to employ local people when as new projects come online. Of its current workforce of 617 people, 83% live and work locally. Construction of the new Maules Creek mine is expected to commence in December.  

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