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Minns Government recommends approval for first coal expansion since election

The NSW Minns Government has recommended an expansion of Idemitsu's Boggabri coal mine be approved - the first coal expansion to be determined since the state election.

An assessment document (see page viii) containing the government’s recommendation that the project be approved was quietly uploaded on the Planning Department’s website today (Friday December 22).

Lock the Gate Alliance says the recommendation represents a broken promise to the people of NSW because the project has not and will not undergo an independent assessment process.

The expansion will be responsible for 63 million tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution (see page 3).

In the lead up to the last state election, NSW Labor said “new coal mine projects must be subject to an independent approval process” (See attached election platform provided to Lock the Gate Alliance).

However, due to an arbitrary decision by the NSW Government to classify the project as a “modification”, it will not be referred to the Independent Planning Commission.

The Idemitsu owned coal project is the first of at least 14 new NSW coal projects expected to be determined by the State Government in the next 18 months. Together, these projects would be responsible for more than two billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions - 15 times NSW annual emissions.

Idemitsu was previously penalised for stealing more than 500 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water at its Boggabri coal mine during a drought.

Libby Laird, who lives on a property next to the mine, said she was disgusted by the decision due to the company’s record.

“Idemitsu has a disregard for the rules. This is not a company that should have another approval just blithely waved through," she said.

Lock the Gate Alliance NSW coordinator Nic Clyde said the NSW Government had broken its promise to ensure independent assessments of coal projects, and was putting the citizens of NSW at risk of climate-related weather disasters.

“The Minns Government has broken its promise of independent decisions and is continuing with the same destructive pro-coal policies as the former Coalition Government, no matter the cost. It’s little surprise this terrible recommendation was quietly made public on a Friday afternoon before Christmas.

“This is the first of at least 14 proposed coal expansions in NSW that will blow NSW and Australian climate targets and put us all at risk.

“The NSW Climate Change (Net Zero Future) Act 2023 became law less than two weeks ago. In passing the Act, the Parliament recognised that ‘action is urgently required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions’ in NSW. 

“The expansion proposes to increase annual direct greenhouse gas emissions by about 14% from 2023 to 2036, which runs in the opposite direction to the emissions reduction trajectory required by the Act of at least a 70% reduction by 2035.

“It’s unbelievable that the Minns Government is pushing business as usual on coal mines. Parts of NSW are experiencing extreme bushfires and heatwaves - and we haven’t even reached peak summer. 

“We’re calling on the Minns Government to protect its citizens, and stop the latest coal rush immediately, putting in place a pause until proper climate considerations are embedded into mining decisions."


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