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Environment

An Economic Impact Assessment was undertaken by Gillespie Economics, which aimed to determine both the economic efficiency and economic impacts of the Project.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • A Benefit Cost Analysis confirms that the Project will have a net production benefit of $3,047 Million with a minimum of $1,310 Million of these net production benefits accruing to Australia. This net production benefit is distributed amongst a range of stakeholders including the local community, Shenhua Watermark, its shareholders and government.
  • In contrast, the present value of the continued use of the agricultural lands and water for agricultural purposes that will be utilised by the Project is estimated at $40 M. Based on these comparative values, the Project is considered to be a significantly more efficient land use than continued agricultural production.
  • The Project will result in the following economic benefits to the New South Wales economy:
    • $1,554 Million in annual direct and indirect regional output or business turnover;
    • $802 Million in annual direct and indirect regional value added;
    • $276 Million in annual direct and indirect household income; and
    • 3,260 direct and indirect jobs.
  • The Project will result in the following economic benefits to the regional economy (Gunnedah, Tamworth, Liverpool Plains, Narrabri and Upper Hunter LGAs):
    • $913 Million in annual direct and indirect regional output of business turnover;
    • $507 Million in annual direct and indirect regional value added;
    • $91 Million in annual direct and indirect household income; and
    • 1,015 direct and indirect jobs.
  • The Project will result in the following economic benefits to the local economy (Gunnedah, Tamworth and Liverpool Plains LGAs):
    • $902 Million in annual direct and indirect regional output of business turnover;
    • $493 Million in annual direct and indirect regional value added;
    • $80 Million in annual direct and indirect household income; and
    • 908 direct and indirect jobs.

Based on the above, the Project is considered desirable and justified from an economic efficiency perspective.

Economics Specialist Study

Fact Sheet - Economics



A Social Impact Assessment was undertaken by Hansen Bailey Environmental Consultants. The purpose of the assessment was to develop a socio-economic profile of the local and regional area with a focus on the Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains and Tamworth Local Government Areas in order to identify any future social impacts which may result from the Project and to propose a range of mitigations to address any identified impacts.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • The project will require approximately 600 full-time equivalent employees during the 18 month construction phase with the workforce expected to be predominantly sourced from outside the local area.
    • The construction workforce of the Project will be encouraged to make use of the proposed Workforce Accommodation Facility (MAC Werris Creek), thereby alleviating pressure on the local and regional housing market.
  • During the operational phase, the Project will require a peak of 600 employees in Year 21.
    • The operations workforce will be a combination of local hires already residing within the Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains and Tamworth Regional Local Government Areas and non-local hires who will migrate to the region.
  • The Project will result in an increase in population across the Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains, Tamworth, Narrabri and Upper Hunter Local Government Areas between Year 1 and Year 21 of operations. An additional 10 to 40 people are anticipated to migrate into these Local Government Areas per year.
  • The majority of the population increase will be in the Gunnedah urban area, although this is expected to be between four and 14 additional people annually.
  • The expected population growth will result in an incremental increase on housing demand within the local and regional areas as the incoming operational workforce and their families are likely to settle in a variety of locations. The growth will be incremental between Year 1 and Year 21, with approximately four to 16 additional dwellings being required annually.
  • The cumulative impact of current and future mining and resource projects in the region will have a far greater impact on population growth, housing demand and service delivery in the region than the Project alone.
    • In year 2022, the Project operational workforce (approximately 383) will represent only 11% of the total personnel expected to be employed in mining and resource industry projects in the Gunnedah Basin at that time.
  • The expected impacts of the Project on existing community facilities and services in the Gunnedah, Liverpool Plains and Tamworth Regional Local Government Areas will generally be incremental. Much of the population growth generated particularly by the operations phase will be absorbed by the natural growth of facilities and services.

To assist in mitigating the potential social impacts of the Project on the local and regional area, Shenhua Watermark has made an offer to enter into separate Voluntary Planning Agreements with Gunnedah Shire Council, Liverpool Plains Shire Council and Tamworth Regional Council to provide in kind and monetary contributions to support the community. The Voluntary Planning Agreements are proportionate to the identified social and community impacts of the Project on each area.

A broad range of other initiatives to mitigate and manage the social impacts of the Project on the local area have also been offered.

Social Impact Specialist Study

Fact Sheet - Social



A Soil Survey and Land Capability Impact Assessment was undertaken by GSS Environmental. The purpose of the assessment was to define the soil types present within the Project Boundary, provide a description of the pre and post-mining land capability and determine the available topsoil resource for post-mining rehabilitation.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • Eighteen different soil types were identified within the Project Boundary.
  • Impacts to the land as a result of the Project will remain within the Disturbance Boundary and the confinements of the Eastern, Southern and Western Mining Areas. The remaining areas outside this are to be maintained to its existing pre-mining class, including the alluvial black soils.
  • There are a range of land capability classifications within the Disturbance Boundary, with Class VII dominating the existing landscape. No Class II land will be disturbed by open cut mining as a result of the Project. The Project will maintain a 150 metre buffer from the open cut mining areas to the Alluvial Black Soils.
  • It is proposed that 1,000 hectares of rehabilitated land with Class III characteristics within the Disturbance Boundary will be reinstated for agricultural purposes. The remaining rehabilitated land will be used for ecological conservation through the restoration of native woodland and grassland.

Soils and Land Capability Specialist Report

Fact Sheet - Soils and Land Capability



An Agricultural Impact Statement was undertaken by Scott Barnett & Associates to identify and determine the agricultural productivity of resources and enterprises within the Project Boundary, Onsite and Offsite Offset Areas, and surrounding locality and assess the loss of agricultural production from these areas as a result of the Project.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • Shenhua Watermark owned land is currently managed as grazing and cropping operations.
  • The portion of Offset Area 6 (residual Onsite Offset Area), which is not owned by Shenhua Watermark, is primarily used for beef cattle and sheep grazing and dryland winter cropping.
  • The Offsite Offset Areas are densely timbered and primarily used for grazing for breeding cattle and sheep.
  • Any land that is situated within the Disturbance Boundary and the Onsite and Offsite Offset Areas will be removed from production as a result of the Project. Much of this land will no longer be available for agricultural purposes as it will also be reserved in perpetuity for the conservation of its ecological values.
  • In total, the foregone net value of agricultural production from land resources required for the Project is estimated at a present value of $39.3 Million.
  • The Project is also predicted to result in the annual average relocation of approximately 194 ML of water per year from agricultural purposes to coal mining.
    • This results in a net value loss of $0.06 Million per annum.
  • As defined by the Strategic Regional Land Use Plan – New England North West (DP&I, 2012), a small area encompassing 96.1 hectares of Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land has been identified and verified within the Disturbance Boundary and will be impacted through surface disturbance associated with open cut mining.
  • A further 696 hectares of Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land has been identified and verified within the Onsite Offset Areas and will be conserved for ecological purposes by excluding agricultural activities and actively regenerating the land for the purposes of recreating Koala habitat.
  • The Project will not have any impact on the alluvial soils or agricultural productivity of land outside the Project Boundary and the Biodiversity Offset Areas.
  • The Project is not anticipated to have significant impacts on:
    • Surrounding enterprises as a result of excessive dust or noise;
    • Traffic regimes along support infrastructure routes associated with neighbouring agricultural enterprises;
    • Long-term visual amenity of surrounding enterprises;
    • Labour supply to agricultural enterprises; and
    • Support services directly employed by agricultural enterprises.
  • The direct annual output of the Project is estimated at $744 M per annum. In contrast, the direct annual output of the continued use of the agricultural lands and water for agricultural purposes that will be utilised by the Project is estimated at $5 M per annum.
  • The direct and indirect local employment provided by the Project will be up to 908 full time equivalent jobs compared to up to 41 agricultural-related jobs that would be forgone as a result of the Project.
  • To maintain and where possible enhance, the agricultural productivity of Shenhua Watermark owned land, the following management measures will be applied:
    • Minimise the area of disturbance of land at any one time;
    • Continue to work with land managers to ensure the highest productivity of Shenhua Watermark owned land not directly impacted by the Project;
    • Develop and implement a weed and pest management plan to control the distribution of invasive plant species and feral animals.
    • Implement sustainable farming practices.
    • Rehabilitate the mining areas to the best possible rural land capability (including not less than 3,230 ha of Class III rehabilitated land) with slopes less than approximately 10 degrees; and
    • Reinstate at least 1,000 hectares of the rehabilitated Class III land to primary production.

Agricultural Specialist Study

 

Fact Seet - Agriculture



A Rehabilitation and Mine Closure Strategy was prepared by GSS Environmental. The purpose of the strategy was to develop objectives for the rehabilitation of land that will be disturbed as a result of the Project, provide a strategy for mine closure, and describe management measures to address the final void.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • The final land use for the Project Boundary will comprise a mixture of the native vegetation communities (including grassy woodland (70%), shrubby woodland / open forest (25%) and riparian forest (5%) for conservation purposes) and a mixture of pasture species for agricultural purposes.
  • Revegetation of native communities within the Project Boundary will focus on reinstating White Box Grassy Woodland with small areas of other species to enhance diversity across the final landform.
  • The mining areas, excluding the final void in the Western Mining Area, will be progressively rehabilitated as mining advances and concludes.
  • The rehabilitation efforts will be measured against the performance objectives or standards outlined in the rehabilitation success criteria developed for the Project.
  • The final landform has been developed to promote visual characteristics that generally conform to the existing landscape. This involves completely backfilling the final voids of the Eastern and Southern Mining Areas and developing gentle slopes at a maximum of approximately 10 degrees. The conceptual final landform will be free draining and integrated with the surrounding catchments.

Rehabilitation, Conceptual Final Landform and Mine Closure Study

Fact Sheet - Rehab and Mine Closure



A Groundwater Impact Assessment was undertaken by Australasian Groundwater and Environmental Consultants. The purpose of the assessment was to characterise the existing groundwater system, predict flows into the mining areas throughout the life of the Project, assess the impacts of the Project on groundwater sources, and propose management and mitigation strategies.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • Within Exploration Licence 7223, groundwater occurs within the following two main systems:
    • The systems of the Upper Namoi alluvium; and
    • The older, deeper and poorer quality bedrock that contains localised aquifers within weathered rock, porous sandstones, fractured zones, volcanics and the coal seams of the Gunnedah Basin (Permian Formations).
  • The Upper Namoi alluvium comprises of two major formations, the Narrabri and the Gunnedah Formation:
    • The Narrabri Formation is the uppermost unit and is characterised by brown clays, low yield and brackish to saline groundwater; and
    • The underlying Gunnedah Formation has high permeability and yield and is commonly referred to as the primary aquifer system in the region.
  • The closest occurrence of the Gunnedah Formation aquifer is more than 900 m from the north-eastern corner of the Eastern Mining Area and more than 1.3 km to the south of the Project Boundary. This buffer prevents the direct connection of water between the Gunnedah Formation aquifer and the proposed mining areas.
  • Within 10 km of the Project Boundary, 35 bores are predicted to experience maximum groundwater level reductions of greater than or equal to 0.1 m. Of these, four bores adjacent to the Southern Mining Area have a maximum predicted drawdown between 1.0 m and 1.4 m. These predicted groundwater level reductions are below the minimal harm criteria of 2 m as defined in the Aquifer Interference Policy.
  • The groundwater model predicts that the volume of water removed from Zones 3, 7 and 8 of the Water Sharing Plan for the Upper and Lower Namoi Groundwater Sources 2003 combined is 35.7 ML per annum on average. This is a very small (negligible) quantity of water being equivalent to about 25% of the usage from a single licenced agricultural bore within 10km from the Project Boundary (142 ML/annum).
  • The predicted groundwater levels within the Western Mining Area final void will remain below the regional water table by approximately 1-2 m, indicating the void will act as a groundwater sink, not a source. The water level in the final void will therefore stabilise below the crest of the open cut mining area, and overland spillage of water into the environment will not occur.
  • An independent Peer Review of the AGE Groundwater Impact Assessment was undertaken by Heritage Computing in accordance with the Murray-Darling Basin Commission's (MDBC's) Australian Flow Modelling Guideline (MDBC 2001) and the Australian Groundwater Modelling Guidelines (Barnett et al 2012):
    • The Peer Review concluded that the “groundwater model has been developed competently and is regarded as "fit for purpose" for addressing the potential environmental impacts from the three open cut mining areas and for estimating indicative dewatering rates. The stated objectives of the modelling study have been addressed satisfactorily.”
  • The Namoi Water Study Model was considered throughout the development of the groundwater model for the Project.
  • The relevant water licences will be required to account for water taken as a result of the Project. Shenhua Watermark has secured part of these required licences and will purchase the remaining licences within the operating water market.
  • The current groundwater monitoring network will continue to be implemented through the life of the Project along with the preparation of a Water Management Plan. Additional monitoring bores will be installed within the predicted zone of depressurisation to assess the extent and rate of depressurisation against model predictions. The monitoring program will also measure parameters for groundwater quality.

Groundwater Specialist Study:

Fact Sheet - Groundwater



A Surface Water Impact Assessment was undertaken by WRM Water and Environment. The purpose of the assessment was to characterise existing catchments, develop a water balance with consideration of the proposed water management system and assess the impacts to surface water sources as a result of the Project.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • A site surface water management system is proposed to both provide suitable water for mine site use and to ensure that untreated mine water is not released from the site.
  • During wet years, it may be possible to obtain all water requirements for the mining operations from dirty water runoff and groundwater seepage.
  • However, during average and dry years it is predicted that annual volumes up to 600 ML will be required to supplement the mine water supplies.
  • Shenhua Watermark proposes to access water from nearby available water sources under appropriate water access licences owned by Shenhua Watermark or private commercial arrangements with holders of appropriate water access licences.
  • During the life of the Project, a reduction in catchment area will decrease the volume of stormwater runoff to surrounding waterways, including the Mooki River, Watermark Gully, Native Dog Gully and Lake Goran. At the completion of mining, surface runoff from rehabilitated OEAs will be released offsite which will lead to an increase in the catchment area draining to the Mooki River, Watermark Gully and Native Dog Gully. An area of approximately 108 ha, which originally drained to Lake Goran, will continue to drain to the final void of the Western Mining Area.

The current surface water monitoring network will continue to be implemented through the life of the Project along with the development of a Water Management Plan. At commencement of operations, the surface water monitoring program will be expanded to include samples from key storages within the water management system.

The design of sediment control measures will be based on the principle of ensuring that runoff from disturbed areas is separated from clean area runoff and collected in sediment dams for treatment.

Surface Water Specialist Study



A Flood Study was undertaken by WRM as part of the Surface Water Impact Assessment. The purpose of the assessment was to assess the potential of the Project to interact with flood flows along Watermark Gully and the Mooki River, thereby affecting local and regional flood regimes.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • The 100 year Average Recurrence Interval (ARI) design flood event along the Mooki River, a small area at the south-east corner of the Project Disturbance Boundary, will be inundated to a depth of up to 1.7 metres with flow velocities of less than 0.1 metres per second.
    • Placement of overburden on this small area will not affect flood behaviour on the floodplain; however, it will reduce the flood storage of the larger Mooki River floodplain by approximately 235 megalitres or 2% of the storage volume available (approximately 11,310ML) resulting in a negligible rise in 100 year flood level. The remaining area along the Mooki River will be flood free and will not be impacted by the project.
  • During the life of the Project, Watermark Gully will experience a reduction in the contributing catchment area by approximately 25%. At Year 30, the maximum reduction in the associated catchment area will be reached resulting in a 34% decrease in flow from the pre-mining flow conditions.
  • Following cessation of mining, the catchment area draining to Watermark Gully will exceed pre-mining conditions increasing flows by 15%. These impacts will be reduced when the detailed design and construction of the modified waterway is undertaken.

Flood Specialist Study

Fact Sheet - Surface Water and Flood



An Aboriginal Archaeological Assessment was undertaken by AECOM Australia. The purpose of the assessment was to identify Aboriginal Archaeological resources within the Project Boundary and assess the potential impacts of the Project on these resources.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • The assessment included a detailed desktop review of previous studies, search of the Office of Environment and Heritage's Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System, and a comprehensive field survey of the Project Boundary undertaken over a total of 25 days with members of the Aboriginal community.
  • A total of 55 Aboriginal archaeological sites were identified in the Project Boundary, consisting of 51 new sites and four Aboriginal Heritage Information Management System registered sites.
  • The newly recorded sites were represented by 17 artifacts scatters, 23 isolated finds, eight potential Aboriginal scarred trees and three grinding groove sites.
  • As a result of the Project, a total of 29 Aboriginal archaeological sites within the Project Boundary will be directly impacted.
  • An Aboriginal Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Management Plan will be developed in consultation with Registered Aboriginal Parties and relevant government agencies.
  • The plan will also provide provisions for the in-situ conservation of an additional 26 Aboriginal archaeological sites and the establishment of the Watermark Gully, and Mooki River Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Conservation Areas.
  • These Conservation Areas offer both known and potential Aboriginal archaeological resources and cultural values on land owned by Shenhua Watermark within and adjacent to the Project Boundary.

Aboriginal Archaeology Specialist Study

Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Specialist Study

Fact Sheet - Aboriginal Archaeology



An Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Impact Assessment was undertaken by PAEHolmes. The purpose of the assessment, in part, was to predict the Project's air quality impacts on receivers in the vicinity of the Project.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • Dispersion modelling was undertaken for Years 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 21, 25 and 30 of the Project. These representative years were identified as the periods most likely to contain the worst case dust levels from a range of mining activities in the various locations within the Project Boundary.
  • The results from the modelling indicate that the Project considered alone and cumulatively with other sources is not predicted to contribute to exceedances of the annual average assessment criteria for Total Suspended Particulates (TSP), dust deposition, Particular Matter less than 10 microns (PM10) and Particulate Matter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) at privately or Shenhua Watermark owned residences over the life of the Project.
  • There are six residences (on five properties) that are predicted to experience exceedances of the 24-hour PM10 assessment criterion between one and 36 days per year due to operations of the Project alone.
    • These maximum impacts represent the worst case operation of the Project under adverse prevailing weather conditions. It is expected that the proactive management of operations will result in modifications to operations so that these impacts will not be experienced at the residences.
  • The Project is considered unlikely to cause health and amenity impacts at neighbouring residences through coal train movements.
    • Shenhua Watermark has committed to the use of a water spray / dust suppressant system at the train load out facility for use as deemed necessary.
  • An assessment of fugitive fume and particulate matter emissions from blast activities indicated that the vast majority of predicted impacts are significantly below the impact assessment criteria. There are a maximum of 8 hours in a year (from a possible 2,920 available blasting hours) when the 1-hour average criterion is predicted to be exceeded.
  • Dispersion modelling of diesel fume and blasting emissions resulting from the Project has shown that the predicted impacts for PM10, PM2.5, Nitrogen Dioxide and Sulphur Dioxide at all residences will remain well below their respective assessment criteria / standard.

Shenhua Watermark has adopted numerous leading-practice air quality controls which will be incorporated into the operations of the Project and outlined in an Air Quality Management Plan.

Shenhua Watermark will also install a comprehensive air quality monitoring network near residences surrounding the Project. This will include a real-time dust monitoring and management system with predictive capabilities to forecast meteorological conditions to understand in advance where the risk of dust emissions may occur. In addition, reactive/proactive measures which will result in increased dust controls on-site or the modification to mining operations will be employed.

Air Quality Specialist Study

Fact Sheet - Air Quality



An Acoustic Impact Assessment was undertaken by Bridges Acoustics. The purpose of the assessment was to predict the Project's construction, operation and transport noise impacts, and blasting noise and vibration on receivers in the vicinity of the Project Boundary. In addition, recommendations of reasonable and feasible noise and vibration mitigation and management measures are presented.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • Predictive noise modelling was undertaken for Years 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 21, 25 and 30 of the Project. These representative years were identified as the periods most likely to experience the worst case noise levels.
  • During the construction phase, predicted noise levels generated by the Project are acceptable under the relevant assessment criteria with the exception of one residence.
  • Throughout the operational phase, a residence is deemed to be significantly impacted if the predicted operational noise level exceeds the intrusive criteria greater than 5 dBA. There are six residences that will experience significant noise impact. There are a further seven vacant properties that will be subject to significant noise impacts over an area greater than 25% of the property.
  • Seventeen residences and nine vacant properties will also experience mild to moderate noise levels (i.e. exceedance of intrusive criteria between 1 and 5 dBA).
  • The blasting associated with the Project is predicted to produce ground vibration and overpressure levels below the relevant amenity criteria at all privately owned residences and structures.

A Noise Management Plan will be prepared for the Project and will include all feasible and reasonable noise controls described in the Acoustics Impact Assessment.

Shenhua Watermark will also establish a real time noise monitoring and management system at representative locations surrounding the Project Boundary, and predictive meteorological forecasting system. This will allow for ongoing monitoring to confirm and manage predicted noise levels at receivers. A blast monitoring program will be implemented to monitor sensitive receivers to ensure compliance with the relevant blast criteria.

Acoustic Impact Assessment Specialist Study

Fact Sheet - Noise and Blasting



An Ecological Impact Assessment was undertaken by Cumberland Ecology Pty Ltd. The purpose of this assessment was to characterise the terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna within the Project Boundary, including threatened species, populations and ecological communities and assess the impacts of the Project on biodiversity.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • Land within the Project Boundary is dominated by low diversity grassland derived from previous clearing of woodland to accommodate agricultural pursuits.
  • Remnant and regrowth open forest and woodland occur as fragmented, narrow tracts along boundary fences and road verges and in isolated patches on hills, steep slopes and in paddocks within the Project Boundary.
  • The area within the Project Boundary supports mostly highly mobile species, including nine bird species and one bat species.
  • Koalas have also been consistently detected across the Project Boundary and Breeza State Forest in all eucalypt dominated woodland.
  • Aquatic habitat along the Mooki River and Native Dog Gully is highly degraded.
  • A total of 738 hectares of Box Gum Woodland and Derived Native Grassland will be removed progressively over the life of the Project, and 51 hectares of other listed vegetation communities and flora species.

A range of management plans will be prepared to guide all facets of biodiversity management and mitigation for the Project. These will each include key performance indicators and measures to prevent adverse impacts to flora and fauna.

Ecology Specialist Study

Fact Sheet - Flora and Fauna



A Koala Plan of Management has been prepared for the Project by Cumberland Ecology. The purpose of the Koala Plan of Management is to provide a management framework for the local Koala population and associated habitat known to exist within the Project Boundary and Onsite Offset Areas.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • Field surveys of vegetation and estimation of Koala activity levels and population density were completed within the Project Boundary and Onsite Biodiversity Offset Areas between 2010 and 2012.
  • A number of leading Koala experts were consulted during assessment and preparation of the Koala Plan of Management.
    • Dr Stephen Phillips was consulted regarding the development of a suitable methodology for determining Koala activity levels and population density estimates within the Project Boundary and surrounding lands; and
    • A peer review of the Koala Plan of Management was conducted by Dr Katherine Handasyde from Melbourne University and Dr Mathew Crowther from the University of Sydney. Their comments and recommendations were incorporated into the Koala Plan of Management for the Project.
  • An analysis of sightings and scat data via SAT surveys were adopted to understand Koala activity. Approximately half of the Spot Assessment Technique (SAT) plots (48%) yielded low activity levels, however, the remaining plots yielded medium (11%) and high (41%) activity, indicating core Koala habitat.
  • The Project will result in the staged clearance of Koala habitat within the Disturbance Area, including 847 ha of the species' preferred eucalypt dominated habitat.
  • Based on the population estimates obtained from the field survey, it is anticipated that the Project will require the translocation of 2.1% of the total population within the Gunnedah LGA over 30 years which equates to approximately 0.07% per annum. In total, an estimated 262 Koalas would therefore require translocation over the life of the Project.
  • A range of mitigation and management measures are proposed to manage impacts on the Koala including:
    • Habitat protection. Conservation and ongoing management of existing vegetation will occur within the Mt Watermark Offset Area and Offset Area 6 in order to maintain and improve ecological value and facilitate regeneration of native vegetation that currently contributes to Koala habitat.
    • Habitat revegetation and enhancement. Significant revegetation will occur within the Onsite Offset Areas in order to establish extensive areas of Koala habitat including revegetation along the Mooki River. A key objective of this revegetation is to provide future habitat for the local population of the Koala, including planting feed trees to enhance existing movement corridors and developing additional corridor options.
    • Mine Site rehabilitation. The principle objective of the Rehabilitation and Mine Closure Strategy will be to recreate and establish, as best as possible, a self-sustaining post-mining landscape that resembles the original vegetation communities that are able to support the local population of the Koala. Such revegetation has been shown to provide habitat for Koalas in the Gunnedah region within 10 to 20 years after planting.
    • Population monitoring and reporting. The Koala population within the Project Boundary and Onsite Offset Areas will be monitored (yearly) over the life of the Project. The objectives of the monitoring program will be to establish robust baseline population levels, identify changes in population and monitor the effectiveness of the mitigation and offset measures. Monitoring will involve radio tracking, SAT plots surveys, reporting of injuries and habitat assessments.
    • Monitoring of health. Monitoring of selected individuals of the Koala population within the Project Boundary and Onsite Offset Areas will be undertaken yearly as part of a scientific study to ensure early detection of an increase in the incidence of disease.
    • Staged movement of Koalas. Pre-clearance surveys and the establishment of suitable barriers (where practicable) will be implemented prior to clearing activities. It is anticipated that these actions will facilitate the natural gradual movement of individuals into movement corridors and rehabilitated habitat patches away from the mining areas.
    • Staged translocation of Koalas. In the event that some individuals do not relocate voluntarily or various habitat and/or population issues develop, translocation to Offset Areas may be necessary. As clearing rates for Koala habitat may vary due to the fragmented nature of the landscape, translocation estimates will need to be revised each year.
    • Public education. Information sheets will be prepared for employees, contractors and their families about their responsibilities to minimise impacts to the Koala at work and home. Funding will also be indirectly offered as part of the Biodiversity Offset Strategy to establish and support research on the Koala in the local area.
    • Fire management. The aim of fire control is to avoid severe fires that could cause significant adverse impacts on individual Koalas. Fire protection will be managed according to the procedures to be developed as part of the Bushfire Management Plan for the Project in consultation with the NSW Rural Fire Service.
    • Drought protection. If required, water points or ponds will be installed in areas of retained vegetation and in the Onsite Offset Areas to provide a stable water source for Koalas during droughts.
    • Vertebrate pest management. Vertebrate pests will be managed according to the procedures to be developed as part of the Biodiversity Management Plan for the Project.
    • Installation of Koala proof fencing, where necessary.

Koala Specialist Study

Fact Sheet - Flora and Fauna



A Biodiversity Offset Strategy for the Project has been developed to mitigate the residual impacts on biodiversity and to address the ecological impacts of the Project in a strategic and meaningful way that will deliver a real biodiversity outcome.

Click here for a summary of the findings.

In summary:

  • The components of the Biodiversity Offset Strategy include:
    • Onsite Biodiversity Offsets, comprising:
      • Conservation and ongoing management of existing vegetated land within the Mt Watermark Offset Area and Offset Area 6;
      • Restoration of vegetation communities and associated habitat within the aforementioned offset areas and the Mooki River Offset Area; and
      • Rehabilitation of mined areas.
    • Offsite Biodiversity Offsets, comprising:
      • Conservation of existing vegetated areas and the restoration of vegetation communities and associated habitat on land near Barraba, NSW.
    • Indirect offsets, such as targeted research with the Australian Research Council and Universities, funding for Landcare, and recovery planning.
    • The Offsite Biodiversity Offset Areas complement the Onsite Biodiversity Offset Areas and ensure the Project will not result in a net loss of biodiversity. These areas provide similar woodland and forest, including Box Gum Woodland, that will be impacted by the Project and offer valuable habitat for native flora and fauna. The Offsite Biodiversity Offset Areas also indirectly connect to nearby national parks and build onto existing proposed offset areas of other mining projects.
    • The Biodiversity Offset Strategy as a whole will address the predicted loss of vegetation by ultimately providing, following revegetation and rehabilitation initiatives, 6,366 hectares of Box Gum Woodland and Derived Native Grassland(CEEC), 1,759 hectares of other listed Endangered Ecological Communities and 4,890 hectares of other woodland vegetation. The Biodiversity Offset Strategy will provide large areas of habitat for threatened species that will be impacted by the Project.
  • The Onsite Biodiversity Offset Areas have been developed to maximise the opportunity to conserve and grow large areas of comparable or 'like for like' vegetation communities within close proximity to the Disturbance Boundary. These vegetation communities are known habitat for a number of threatened fauna species, including Koala.

The active management of both Onsite and Offsite Areas will substantially increase the biodiversity values of the land for fauna and flora in the medium to long term.

Biodiversity Offset Specialist Study

Fact Sheet - Biodiversity Offset Strategy



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