Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the Vickery Extension Project?
Where is the Vickery Extension Project Located?
When is it likely to start?
What are the advantages of the Project and why should it be approved?
What happens now that the EIS has been submitted?
When will a decision be made on the EIS?
Where will the rail line from the mine be located?
Where can I find a copy of the EIS to read?
How do I have my say on the Vickery Extension Project?
When is there/will there be a public meeting?
How many people and organisations have been consulted regarding the Project?
How have you engaged with the community?
What benefits will the Project offer the local region?
Will you maintain a commitment to have 75% local employment and 10% indigenous employment?
I want a job – how do I get one?
How will water be managed on site?
What impact will the Project have on the Namoi River?
How close is the mine to the Namoi River?
What impact will the Project have on the floodplain?
Will there be any impacts on local agriculture?
The Vickery Extension Project, located in the Gunnedah Coalfield in North West NSW, would involve the extension of open cut mining operations at the approved, but yet to be constructed, Vickery Coal Project (the Approved Project).
With an estimated capital cost of approximately $700 million the Vickery Extension Project represents one of the most significant investments currently underway in North West NSW and is the next major development in Whitehaven’s portfolio of assets.
The Vickery Extension Project is located in the Gunnedah Basin Coalfield, approximately 25 kilometres north of Gunnedah and more than 10 km south-east of Boggabri.
It is situated within both the Gunnedah Shire Council and Narrabri Shire Council LGAs
Subject to Federal and State approvals, construction at Vickery is expected to begin in early 2020.
The Vickery Extension Project will:
- Generate around 500 jobs during the construction phase and roughly 450 jobs during operations, adding to the company’s existing 1,500+ strong workforce, 75 percent of whom live locally.
- Contribute $271 million in net present value (NPV) terms in incremental disposable income payments that will help stimulate and support local businesses and the economy.
- Contribute a net economic benefit to NSW of $1.2 billion in net present value terms (e.g. from the generation of additional tax revenue and royalties) – money that will help fund schools, hospitals, roads and other state government priorities.
- Entail the construction of a new coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP) onsite at Vickery and new rail spur to service the mine. This infrastructure will enable Whitehaven to remove coal haulage trucks from the Kamilaroi Highway and improve road safety and amenity.
- Create a final landform that is better integrated and more compatible with the surrounding landscape including an improved Western Emplacement, avoiding construction of the Approved Eastern Emplacement, and reducing the number of voids from 5 (currently) to 2.
You can find out more about the consent and approvals pathway for Vickery at www.vickery.com.au
We expect a decision on Vickery to take between 1 year – 18 months from the point of lodgement.
The Project rail spur will traverse a south westerly direction from the mine.
East of the Namoi River, the rail spur would be located entirely on land owned by Whitehaven. South West of the Namoi River, the rail spur would be located on land owned by two landholders which Whitehaven holds land access agreements with.
The rail spur and associated rail crossing over the Namoi River have been designed so they are consistent with the requirements of the draft Upper Namoi Floodplain Management Plan (OEH, 2016).
The rail spur has been designed to minimise any upstream impacts, minimise changes to flood velocities and minimise the diversion of flood flows.
Where the rail spur crosses the Namoi River and Kamilaroi Highway it would be elevated on viaduct structures to minimise impacts to the flooding regime and provide sufficient clearance for vehicles travelling along the Kamilaroi Highway.
It is expected construction of the rail spur and line will take approximately 12 months.
The EIS is available on-line on www.vickery.com.au and the DPE Major Projects website. Once the EIS is on public exhibition, there will also be paper copies available to view at the Gunnedah and Narrabri Council chambers and at the Whitehaven Coal office on Conadilly St.
The NSW Department of Planning and the Environment will advise the time and location of any public meetings in relation to the Vickery Extension Project. In the meantime, you can find information about the project at www.vickery.com.au or view the entire EIS on the NSW Department of Planning and the Environment Major Projects website. Alternatively drop in to see us at 231 Conadilly Street, Gunnedah, NSW.
Prior to the EIS being lodged Whitehaven had in excess of 400 interactions with community and other stakeholders to consult and seek input on the Project.
We will continue to consult and engage with community members through the EIS exhibition.
We engage with the community through a variety of means including through:
- Scheduled 1:1 interactions
- Community newsletters
- Locally-focussed qualitative and quantitative research (i.e. focus groups and telephone surveys) to test community sentiment and identify issues of interest and concern
- Mine open days
- Whitehaven-sponsored community initiatives totalling $0.445M in FY18
- The Vickery Community Consultative Committee
- The Whitehaven Coal website and the Project-specific Vickery website.
Around 500 jobs will be required during the construction phase and roughly 450 jobs during operations, adding to the company’s existing 1,500+ strong workforce, 75 percent of whom live locally.
This compares with 60 construction and 250 operational jobs for the Approved Mine.
The increased tonnage of coal will add to Whitehaven financial contributions and, in the case of royalty payments to the NSW Government alone, represents a difference of +$261M compared to the Approved Mine scenario.
The Vickery Extension Project will contribute $271 million in net present value (NPV) terms in incremental disposable income payments that will help stimulate and support local businesses and the economy.
Whenever possible, contractors and permanent employees of the mine will be sourced from the local area so that the money Whitehaven salaries / wages are returned to the local economy.
We are committed to maintaining the 75% local component across our workforce and we have set a 10% target for Indigenous employees at Vickery.
You can register for a job at www.vickery.com.au noting that a potential project approval is still some way off and we would not be looking to fill roles until that point. Employment opportunities are advertised on www.whitehavencoal.com.au and also on Seek, so keep an eye out.
Whitehaven has developed a comprehensive water management plan for the site that exceeds industry best practice.
At this stage it is anticipated that all water used in the mining process will be covered by existing water licenses.
Whitehaven’s peer-reviewed modelling and analysis contained in the EIS indicates that any mine related impacts on the Namoi River floodplain would be consistent with the requirements of the draft Upper Namoi Floodplain Management Plan.
As per the Approved Mine, the Project mining area would be located more than 1 km from the Namoi River at is closest point.
Whitehaven’s peer-reviewed modelling and analysis detailed in the Environmental Impact Statement shows that any mine related impacts on the Namoi River floodplain would be consistent with the requirements of the draft Upper Namoi Floodplain Management Plan.
The rail spur and associated rail crossing over the Namoi River have been designed so they will be consistent with the requirements of the draft Upper Namoi Floodplain Management Plan.
Peer reviewed assessment of proposed extension activities on the water table indicate that no significant water table drawdown are envisaged or likely given the demonstrated hydrogeological conditions.
Wherever Whitehaven operations interact with agriculture, we engage with farmers, landowners and government regulators and seek to ensure that impacts on non-mining land are minimised.
It is significant that the Vickery Mine will be located on land that has been mined previously and is of low agricultural value.
In line with our Land Management Strategy, Whitehaven leases a significant portion of our land holdings back to local farmers to maximise its sustainable economic use.