Glencore’s Bulga Optimisation Project given green light

December 03, 2014


Mining at Glencore’s Bulga complex, near Singleton in the Hunter Valley, can continue until at least 2035, after approval from the NSW Planning Assessment Commission.
Glencore says the approval is an endorsement of their inclusive planning process and comprehensive consultation with the communities of Bulga, Broke and Milbrodale.
Mr Ian Cribb, head of Glencore’s Australian coal business, welcomed the decision, emphasising Bulga’s commitment to including the community in its decision-making.
‘We understand that long-term employment at the mine - and the future of the business - is dependent on us earning and maintaining community support and our licence to operate,” he said. 
Glencore has been working with the community, its neighbours and regulators for more than three years, consulting with more than 400 stakeholders to get the mine plan for the Bulga Optimisation Project just right. 
Modifications were made to the original mine plan including a decision to mine in a direction away from the villages of Broke and Milbrodale and other avoiding disturbance of the Warkworth Sands woodlands, a sensitive ecological community nearby. Glencore will also build a man-made hill around the operations to reduce any noise impacts from the mine.
Glencore says that the project changes come in addition to existing initiatives at the mine to better manage impacts and reduce noise including: 
  • A $173 million investment in sound-suppressed mining equipment
  • Real-time noise and air quality monitoring, both on site and in neighbouring villages 
  • A dedicated noise and dust control centre, manned 24/7 to respond to monitoring data 
  • Compulsory dust and noise management education for employees.
As part of the planning process, Glencore had assessed and agreed with specific recommendations made by the Planning Assessment Commission prior to its final determination. 
A Voluntary Planning Agreement has been also developed in cooperation with Singleton Council, with funding dedicated to local community improvement projects identified during consultation on the Bulga Optimisation Project proposal. 
The approval will allow operations to continue at Bulga until 2035, largely within the mine’s existing footprint with production levels to remain at approximately 6 million tonnes of saleable coal a year.
Glencore is Australia’s largest coal producer with 13 mining complexes across NSW and Queensland, employing around 8,600 people. The company produced more than 80 million tonnes of thermal and coking coal in 2013. 

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