Shenhua Watermark has spent seven years and $700 million building a case that open-cut coalmining and agriculture can co-exist in the Liverpool Plains.
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment concluded in a document recommending the coalmine's approval that "on balance they believe that the project's benefits outweigh its residual costs."
The company now has just one more authority – the independent Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) – to convince before it can extract 268 million tonnes of coal buried beneath 4,000ha of land near Breeza.
Shenhua Watermark's Project Manager, Paul Jackson said "We've done the scientific work that shows that we can co-exist with agriculture and it shows that we won't do any damage to the alluvial aquifers."
Mr Jackson said the company respected the rights of objectors to have their say during the PAC hearings but it was satisfied the science would withstand scrutiny.
Whatever arguments are put forward against the project during the PAC meetings, Shenhua is confident it has the answers.
"At the end of the day, people are going to have their opinions about this project. We'll rely on the science and we'll rely on the facts, not the rhetoric." Mr Jackson said.
Shenhua Project Manager, Paul Jackson