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Yancoal's proposed expansion at a New South Wales coal mine has been met with fierce opposition from a public policy think tank.
Image: Yancoal.

Yancoal and Glencore have defended their NSW coal mines after proposed expansions prompted opposition.

Yancoal’s proposed expansion at a NSW coal mine has been met with fierce opposition from a public policy think tank.

The Moolarben Coal Complex is located near Mudgee in central NSW and Yancoal currently holds approval for operations until December 31 2038.

A new environmental impact statement has shown the project would mine up to nine million tonnes of coal a year with an average of four million tonnes until 2038.

The Australia Institute has objected to the expansion, citing the economic impact of the project.

Mining giant Glencore has also applied to extend the life of its nearby Ulan site for an additional two years to 2035.

“All of our Australian projects have been factored into Glencore’s plans to achieve net-zero by 2050,” a Glencore spokesman said in a statement.

“There would be no change to currently approved extraction limits and mining would largely be serviced by existing surface infrastructure.”

The news comes just days after the fight against New Acland’s Queensland coal mine continued.

Common themes among the opposing submissions to the expansions include fears about the effect on biodiversity, including koala habitat, and contamination and use of water.

Australia Institute research director Rod Campbell said he found the direct cost of the Moolarben Open Cut Extension Project to the climate measured by the economic damage that would result from its carbon dioxide emissions would be $156 million, “greater than estimated royalty value (of) $152 million”.

Campbell said the public was being misled by Yancoal.

However, a spokesman for the company said it “was looking to recoup all tax losses carried forward from prior years and is now moving into a tax-paying position”.

He said the company had paid other taxes and royalties, including $656 million to local, state and federal governments in 2021.