Australian Pacific Coal has announced it will appeal the Land and Environment Court’s decision to join the Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association in its opposing the extension of the Dartbrook coal mine life from 2022 to 2027.
The application for seeking leave to appeal the Hunter Valley, New South Wales underground coal mine has been filed and is “likely” to be heard in the first half of 2021.
The Hunter Thoroughbred Breeders Association is now permitted to join court proceedings as a party, effectively preventing the court from approving Australian Pacific Coal’s mine expansion plans.
In line with this recent legal development, Australian Pacific Coal has commenced a strategic review of its assets, including the Dartbrook project.
In the review, Australian Pacific Coal will evaluate the proposed coal mining operations at Dartbrook and its associated assets, including freehold land and water rights.
Australian Pacific Coal is considering all options for the mine, which has been mothballed for 14 years, including the divestment of non-core mining assets.
“The review aims to consider and assess all available options for Australian Pacific Coal, the Dartbrook project and its shareholders,” the company stated in an ASX media release.
“(It) has currently considered the disposal of non-core mining assets at the Dartbrook project where it has executed contracts for the sale of land and water rights for $3.3 million.”
Negotiations between Australian Pacific Coal and the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) have been underway for several years as the former attempts to create a clear path forward for the mine.
In September 2019, the IPC deemed a five-year extension to Dartbrook beyond 2022 was “not in the public interest” due to concerns over air quality, noise, subsidence, groundwater and greenhouse gas emissions.
The IPC then blocked Australian Pacific Coal’s modification submission, but the company has continued its fight to expand the mine to achieve its permitted 6 million tonnes per annum of coal until December 2027.