The majority of visitors to the Rocky Hill Coal Project Information Centre have been very supportive of the project and the jobs it will provide for the area.

GRL chief operating officer Brian Clifford said he and his team had been very encouraged by the positive response to the revised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

“We have had greater interest in the project in the past two days that when we previously exhibited the EIS,” Mr Clifford said.

“Only a handful of people have expressed their opposition to the project. Most people who have been to the Information Centre have come to learn more and express support.“

Mr Clifford said quite a few visitors had worked in the mining or resources sectors and were keen for a job with Rocky Hill.

He said GRL had committed to 75% of the Rocky Hill workforce being Gloucester residents by the end of the third year of operation, and to preferencing local suppliers for the project.

He said some people were interested to know about the proposed impacts of dust from the mine.

“We have done extensive testing and monitoring to understand dust and air quality,” Mr Clifford said.

“The first important point to make is this is that the mine will meet all of the very strict health-based criteria outlined by the Environmental Pollution Authority.

“Being a rural area, there is already dust in the air, and our studies show that “project only” dust at surrounding private residences would be well below the health based criteria outlined by the EPA,” Mr Clifford said.

“The maximum predicted dust increase at the nearest neighbours is expected to be less than one fifth of what is currently in the atmosphere.”

The Information Centre at 33 Church St opened on Wednesday for the first time and will be open every Wednesday and Thursday until September 22. People can view documents and talk to the Project team about the proposed plans, and can see a video that shows the views of the proposed mine from a range of vantage points around Gloucester.

The project has undergone a range of amendments following community feedback. They include:

  • No coal handling preparation plant, overland conveyor, rail loop and train load-out facility.
Coal will be taken by sealed, private haul road to an existing processing facilities at the Stratford Mine complex, about 9km from the Rocky Hill site.
  • No night-time mining operations
  • Three open cut pits, one less than previously planned
  • Reduced noise, dust and visual impacts
  • Reduced traffic, with mining equipment entering the site via the Stratford Mining Complex
  • A decrease in maximum annual coal production from 2.5Mt (million tonnes) 2Mt.

Mr Clifford the Environment Protection Authority and other Government agencies had set out strict guidelines for the mine’s operation and GRL would constantly monitor all operations to ensure those criteria were met.

The project will contribute more than $2 million in upgrades to local roads and intersections, including new Jacks Road bridge. Around $6.5M is expected to be donated to a charitable trust over the life of the Rocky Hill Coal Project, generated from 50 cents per tonne of product coal sold. The Community Grants Program will also include provision of university scholarships, trade apprenticeships, enhanced medical services and competency training on mining-related equipment.

The Information Centre will be open from 1pm – 6pm on Wednesdays and 8am – 1pm on Thursdays.

The Amended SSD Application, Revised Environmental Impact Statement and other accompanying documents can be viewed at www.planning.nsw.gov.au or www.rockyhillproject.com.au

Documents can be inspected during office hours at:

Department of Planning and Environment Information Centre:

23-33 Bridge Street, Sydney (until 30 September);

Level 22, 320 Pitt Street, Sydney (from 4 October);

 Mid Coast Council Offices: (until Friday, 14 October)

89 King Street, Gloucester

Breese Parade, Forster

2 Pulteney Street, Taree

6 Church Lane, Stroud (9 am to noon)