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A Black Canvas – Planning a Greenfield Coalmine in New South Wales


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Author T W C Stambolie


Coalmines, like any other mine, generally involve the classic three-staged approach to mining studies; namely concept, pre-feasibility study (PFS) and feasibility studies (Cusworth, 2012). Subsequent to these studies, and in instances parallel to these studies, the commitment to an environmental impact statement (EIS) is made in order to secure both state and federal development consent. In recent times, the sentiment to both mining and coal is changing whereby the traditional approaches to mine planning and economic evaluation is complicated by evolving environmental legislation, expectations and time frames. It is all too common to take shortcuts in the development of projects in order to create the perception of cost savings and expediting the delivery timeline. Atkins (2016) points out that:

… boards of so many small to
mid-tier mining companies, and a few majors, focus on relentless project
delivery too early in the project process, with so little time and effort
applied to risk analysis and option development. Unforeseen risks can cost any
timeline or budget far more than the effort required assessing and mitigating

The ultimate risk to any feasible coal project is that of environmental approval and achieving development consent.


Stambolie, T W C, 2016. A black canvas
– planning a greenfield coalmine in New South Wales, in Proceedings
Life-of-Mine 2016 Conference
, pp 31–35 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).