GRL's Rocky Hill Coal Mine in Gloucester is refused

The proposed Rocky Hill Coal Mine development application in Gloucester has been refused.

A month after the Planning Assessment Commission held public meetings in Gloucester, the final decision has been announced; both the Rocky Hill Coal Mine Project and the Stratford Extension Project applications have been rejected.

The PAC sent notification of the decision to all interested parties on Friday, December 15 and to advise that all the information about the decision was available on the website at http://www.pac.nsw.gov.au/projects/2017/10/rocky-hill-coal-project

Among the documents on the website were the two letters of refusal prepared by the Department of Environment on October 23 when it recommended the PAC refused the project, both signed by the three members of the PAC committee, Lynelle Briggs, John Hann and Peter Williams.

The committee made the final decision about the proposal after holding meetings with Gloucester Resources Limited (GRL), MidCoast Council and other vested groups, as well as holding public meetings in Gloucester and reading over all the submitted material in regard to the applications.

In the determination report for Rocky Hill, the commission thoroughly outlines the reasons for the final decision stating that the careful consideration has been taken during the process.

The report states the commission acknowledges that the project:

  • is a permissible and use under the State Environmental Planning Policy
  • would be compliant with relevant non- discretionary standards of the State Environmental Planning Policy
  • would have an acceptable impact on surface water and groundwater resources
  • would have an acceptable impact on Indigenous cultural heritage

However, the commission finds that:

  • the creation and operation of an open cut coal min in this proposed location, within the RU1 and E3 zones of the Gloucester Local Environment Plan 2010, is in direct contravention of each zone’s objectives
  • the residual visual impact of the mine would be significant throughout all stages of the project
  • the project is not in the public interest

“For the reasons set out above, the commission has determined to refuse consent to the development application,” the report concludes.