Environment approval  for coalmine

THE proposed Hardrock underground coalmine on the East Coast has the environmental green light and could be fully approved within a fortnight.

The Environment Protection Authority yesterday announced conditional approval for the project but the Break O'Day Council has the final say.

EPA approval conditions are wide-ranging and include requirements on dust, mine construction and decommissioning, effluent disposal, protecting fauna and flora, handling hazardous materials, monitoring and mine operations.

Council general manager Des Jennings said yesterday that   the EPA information had been  received on Thursday and  a date would be chosen on Monday for the council to consider the matter.

He said the proposal could be on the agenda for the council's scheduled September 17 meeting, or a special meeting could be called before then.

Break O'Day Mayor Sarah Schmerl said the council had yet to form a position but she supported the project, as it would mean more jobs,  increased population and more services for the East Coast.

Hardrock Coal Mining Pty Ltd has proposed an underground mine off Valley Road in the Fingal Valley extracting up to a million tonnes of coal a year.

The EPA said in its environmental assessment report that above-ground infrastructure would be located on the site of a former 1950s coalmine.

It is proposed that the mine would operate five days a week from 11pm on Sunday to 11pm on Friday, with three shifts of 8.5 hours a day and  a mine life of about  15 years.

The mine is expected to generate 78 full-time equivalent jobs at the mine and add 300 people to the area's population.

 A proposal to expand the Lion cheese factory in Burnie has also been approved by the authority.

The authority approved an expansion of milk processing from 120 kilolitres to 200 kilolitres a shift, subject to conditions on wastewater, noise and atmospheric emissions.

The proposal for the plant on Old Surrey Road will now be considered by the Burnie City Council.

Sarah Schmerl

Sarah Schmerl