In the wake of the Department of Planning and Environment’s recommendation to refuse the Rocky Hill Mine project application, questions have been raised about what happens now.
On Monday, October 23, the DPE published letter to the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) along with a final environment assessment report and a draft Notice of Refusal of Development Application.
A spokesperson for the DPE said the assessment report on the Rocky Hill Mine proposal in Gloucester, which the department has recommended be refused, has been referred to the independent PAC for determination.
The department stated that the amended proposal should be refused because of the following key issues:
* Visual impacts would be significant;
* Incompatibility with the land use zoning objectives for the site; and
* Many additional residents would be affected by noise emissions, if the proposed noise mitigation proved ineffective.
“The department has thoroughly assessed the proposal and submissions from the community and agencies and has found the potential impacts to the community are too great for this project to be recommended,” a spokesperson for the DPE said.
A spokesperson for the DPE has said that Gloucester Resources Limited (GRL) has no further opportunity to amend this project before it is considered by the commission.
Gloucester Resources Limited said it accepts the DPE’s decision to refer the Rocky Hill project to the PAC for determination.
GRL chief operating officer, Brian Clifford said GRL remains committed to the project.
He said he was encouraged by the many calls of support he has received from the Gloucester community and would continue to work diligently through the NSW Government approvals process
Groundswell Gloucester chair, Julie Lyford said “it is excellent that the department listened to the community regarding the key considers about health, noise and the visual impact.”
“We are looking forward to a resurgence of people relocating to the area and that all the energy that has gone into fighting the destruction of the valley can go back into re-energising the community toward a new future.”
Advance Gloucester deputy chair Rod Williams said the mine represented a significant opportunity for Gloucester and the department’s recommendation was extremely disappointing.
“Gloucester needs jobs and economic sustainability and GRL’s Rocky Hill mine would provide an opportunity of the scale we may never see again,” he said.
“If the NSW Government continues to deny Gloucester the opportunity to be prosperous into the future, many families will suffer and our town will continue to experience economic challenges.”
Due to the number of community objections to the proposal, the final decision whether to refuse or approve the project must be taken by the independent PAC.
This is the final phase of the planning assessment.