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Hunter Valley Operations

Glencore is currently seeking state and federal approvals for one of the biggest coal mine expansions ever proposed in NSW.

The Hunter Valley Operations (HVO) coal mining project is located 24km north west of Singleton in the Hunter Valley NSW and consists of two open-cut coal mine sites separated by the Hunter River, HVO North and HVO South. The project is a joint venture between Yancoal (49%) and Glencore (51%), with Glencore managing the mining operations at these mine sites.

HVO Continuation Project

Glencore proposes to extend its massive Hunter Valley Operations project for another twenty years (north and south) until 2045 and 2050.

This is the single largest coal mining project considered by the New South Wales planning system since the Paris Agreement in 2016. 

This mammoth, polluting HVO Continuation proposal is a carbon bomb. It is a clear and present danger to Australia and New South Wales and must be stopped.

Climate Change Impact

In this critical decade for climate action when the world needs to drastically reduce emissions to prevent runaway global warming, the HVO Continuation Project proposes to extract an estimated 400 million tonnes of new coal and generate 29 million tonnes of on site emissions, which would count towards NSW’s carbon budget.

The approval of this project would amount to an extraordinary 1.2 billion tonnes of lifecycle emissions, including downstream emissions equivalent to more than 8 times New South Wales’ current annual emissions. 

This project is clearly inconsistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the NSW Government’s Climate Change (Net Zero Future) Act 2023.

Water Impacts

Over its 70 year lifespan this mine has already had enormous consequences for the region’s groundwater and surface water resources, including:

  • the discharge of saline mine wastewater into nearby waterways
  • the extraction of water from the Hunter River and other waterways
  • the diversion and use of surface water run-off during and following rainfall events
  • the depressurisation of aquifers as a result of mine pit de-watering.

The impact of the existing HVO mine and the proposed expansion on water resources in the Hunter Valley is profound, particularly when considered cumulatively with other nearby mines.

The proposed HVO mine expansion would remove a huge amount of water from the Hunter River catchment by capturing rainfall and run-off and via its licensed extraction, potentially affecting downstream users, the environment and the Kooragang Island (Hunter estuary) wetlands, a declared Ramsar wetland.







Other Impacts

Towns adjacent to the HVO project including Singleton and Muswellbrook are already experiencing very poor air quality due to many existing coal mining operations. In 2020 there were numerous exceedances of daily average air quality standard for PM10 particulate matter at all Hunter Valley air quality monitoring stations and maximum daily averages were also recorded that are many times the standard.

Environmental Assessments conducted for new and expanding mines adjacent to these towns are failing to accurately describe unacceptable cumulative air quality impacts from coal mining in the region. An approval of the HVO Continuation project until 2050 would ensure local communities are subject to the adverse health impacts of air pollution from coal mining until mid-century.

The expansion would also result in large swathes of critically endangered ecological communities being destroyed, including 120.4ha of the highly fragmented Central Hunter Valley Eucalypt Forest and Woodland Critically Endangered Ecological Community (CEEC).