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The Independent Planning Commission (IPC), the state planner in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), has approved an expansion of the Tahmoor Coal Mine.

The IPC imposed a total of 168 conditions to minimise environmental and social impact before approving the proposed extension to the mine on the south-western outskirts of Sydney.

The approval will enable Simec Mining-subsidiary Tahmoor Coal to extract 33 million tonnes of run-of-mine coal over ten years. The coal will be extracted from 12 new longwall panels to the south of its existing operations.

The product, which will include 90-95% metallurgical or coking coal and 5-10% thermal coal, will be processed using existing infrastructure and transported to the Port Kembla Coal Terminal for export.

The approval comes after an assessment by the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment concluded that the project is in the public interest and its benefits outweigh the costs.

Subsequently, two commissioners were appointed to engage with the local community and assess the potential extension of the mine.

The commission also agreed with the department’s finding and made the determination to approve the project.

The commission’s Statement of Reasons for Decision reads: “The Commission agrees with the Department’s findings… that the proposed extension of the existing Tahmoor Coal Mine is strategically justified and is in the public interest, and that the identified impacts can be appropriately managed through the conditions of consent imposed.”