MANGOOLA Mine's recent request to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) to extend its operations has attracted great interest from the Upper Hunter community.
It's already drawn a significant response from the Lock the Gate Alliance, however Glencore is confident its plan will benefit the region.
The expansion would see them use land, which they already lease, on the north side of Wybong Road and delay the site's closure by several years to 2030.
If approved, work will begin in 2022 and the cessation of mining on the current land would also be pushed out to 2026 as they shift equipment.
The company states the proposal will see them employ a peak of 480 workers, with 88 per cent of them being from Muswellbrook, Singleton or the Upper Hunter LGAs.
Any new development is expected to create an extra 150-person workforce for a predicted 16 months of construction.
By Glencore's estimates, it would provide a royalty revenue stream of $121 million for the NSW Government, and a $92.6 million net benefit to the Upper Hunter over the life of the project.
In its existent state, Mangoola works with approximately 250 local business and spent $77,000 on community contributions in 2017-18, which is why media manager Allyn Hamonet believes the proposal would generate a huge windfall for the area.
"It's obviously of significant importance to our workforce to start with," he said.
"But, the mining operation itself has done an extraordinary amount of work to be a responsible member of the community here by minimising and managing impacts as good as we can."
He noted the organisation's quality reputation in terms of rehabilitation of landscapes as another reason they are confident in their ability to get the public on side with their expansion.
The new area would require $52 million of capital investment to become operational, with an overpass for Wybong Road and alterations for users of Wybong Post Office Road also being required.
It's been a long journey to this point where they have been able to launch a submission, with planning beginning back in 2014.
Consultation has been a key factor with nearby 44 land owners contacted, 63 face-to-face meetings, quarterly meetings with a Community Consultative Committee and communication with 37 registered Aboriginal parties.
Mr Hamonet stated Glencore tried to keep in touch with locals and was understanding of opposition to their projects.
"We appreciate that there may well be impacts, but we're working with local communities and key stakeholders to address those issues and concerns.
"We take a very responsible approach to our mining operations and I think that's demonstrated by the outcomes we've been able to accomplish here at Mangoola.
"However, we respect that some people are not particularly supportive of the industry and mining in general.
"We've taken every possible step we can to make sure we address concerns, manage and minimise impacts and even eliminate them when we can."
Visit the DPIE website for more information and have your say on the project by Wednesday, August 28.
Public exhibitions are available at the Muswellbrook Shire Council offices, Upper Hunter Regional Library in Scone, as well as the Department of Planning and Environment, and Nature Conversation Council offices in Sydney.
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