BHP Is Seeking Approval For A Huge Coal Mine In New South Wales

BHP has launched the environmental approvals process for a coal mine in New South Wales. Image: Shutterstock.

BHP Billiton is seeking approval to build a vast new coal mine in New South Wales.

The Coroona mine, located about 40km outside of Gunnedah is expected to produce up to 10 million tonnes of thermal coal a year over 30 years.

Still in the early stages of the approval process, an environmental impact statement is in the works. If it secures approval construction could start by 2018.

The project would employ about 600 people during construction and up to 400 during production.

BHP has said it will not conduct open cut mining in the exploration area and has said there will be no underground or longwall mining under the alluvial aquifers and floodplains.

Thermal coal prices have been trending down, dropping from about $130 a tonne in 2011 to about $75 a tonne this year, due in a large part to an increase in global supply has increased.

The drop in coal prices combined with high cost Australian operation has seen job cuts and a number of coal mines shut on the east coast.

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