The New South Wales Independent Planning Commission has approved a coalmine expansion in the state’s Upper Hunter region that would cause almost 1bn tonnes of carbon emissions.
The decision will allow MACH Energy to double the output of its Mount Pleasant mine in Muswellbrook to 21m tonnes a year and extend its life to 2048.
The Lock the Gate Alliance has slammed the decision as “reckless and irresponsible” and called for a national approach to major projects that factored the climate crisis into assessments.
The project would be responsible for 876 megatonnes of emissions over its life, 860 megatonnes of which would be the result of emissions produced after the coal is sold and used, mostly overseas.
“It is madness that as humanity teeters on the brink of climate catastrophe, an assessment authority such as the IPC can wave through a coalmine that will be solely responsible for 876m tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Lock the Gate’s NSW coordinator Nic Clyde.
“This project is the largest coalmine expansion approved in the state since the Paris agreement called on nations of the world to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees yet is totally inconsistent with that pledge.”
The federal environment and water minister, Tanya Plibersek, must still make a decision on whether the project should proceed and the alliance called on the minister to reject it.
Lisa Cox, The Guardian, 2022