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Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) to determine Springvale Mine future

The NSW Government Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) met yesterday to discuss licence conditions for EnergyAustralia and Centennial Coal’s Springvale Water Treatment Project. The Water Treatment Project was proposed to meet conditions as part of a 2015 approval for the expansion of Springvale Mine.

The approval condition requires the mine to reduce its release water salinity from 1,200 microSiemens per centimetre (µS/cm) to 1,000 µS/cm by June 2017, and 500 µS/cm by 2019. Failure to meet the condition could result in a loss of licence for the Springvale Mine. This closure would mean there is no coal available for EnergyAustralia’s Mount Piper Power Station which could result in a shut down.

The proposed Water Treatment Project is for waste water to be pumped to Mount Piper Power Station for treatment and then reused. The companies say this will eliminate any need to release water into the catchment. Environmental groups are concerned that excess water not used by the station would still be released.

EnergyAustralia is hopeful that an amended plan which includes storage of excess water in Thompsons Creek Reservoir will be acceptable.

EnergyAustralia and Centennial Coal are also asking to suspend water quality consent conditions until the Water Treatment Project is complete.

The outcome of the PAC meeting is not yet known.