Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the NSW Government will release the Wollar area for potential coal exploration, with interested parties to be invited to apply for an exploration licence.
Mr Barilaro said the NSW Government’s Future of Coal Statement will also be amended to show that open cut coal mining at the Dartbrook site would not be supported.
“Release of the Wollar area follows an assessment under the Competitive Allocation Framework and opens it up for potential exploration activities, to investigate the viability of mining,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Applicants with suitable technical and financial qualifications will be invited to participate in a tender process, with the winner able to proceed with exploration for coal in the Wollar allocation area.
“It is clear in the Upper Hunter locals do not oppose the underground mine at Dartbrook, however an open cut mine is not in line with extensive community consultation. By amending the Future of Coal map we will rule out open cut mining, without impacting the proposed extension for the underground mine.”
Mr Barilaro said the NSW Government remains committed to supporting responsible development of the state’s high quality resources and providing a balanced approach to the future of coal mining in NSW.
“Last year, I announced the Future of Coal Statement to provide certainty to industry and communities by mapping out where coal projects will or won’t continue and both of these decisions reflect that commitment,” Mr Barilaro said.
“We want to make sure that coal mining can take place in areas where it makes sense.
“Coal mining generates jobs for communities and royalties that can be used for essential public services and infrastructure and regional economies will depend on coal mining as a key industry for decades to come.
“The support mining provides to our regions should not be underestimated, it provides career opportunities for young people, brings families into towns and keeps money flowing to support other businesses.”