Sydney (Platts)--20 Jun 2018 1111 pm EDT/311 GMT
A legal challenge to Peabody Energy's planned extension of its Wilpinjong thermal coal mine in the Australian state of New South Wales has been dismissed this week by the state's Land and Environment Court.
A local residents group had challenged an earlier decision by the state's Planning Assessment Commission to allow the extension of the open cut mine, arguing it had not correctly taken future emissions into consideration under state planning laws.
"Peabody welcomes the court's decision to uphold the New South Wales government's approval process for the Wilpinjong Extension Project, allowing for the extension of operations until the end of 2031. The decision confirms Wilpinjong can continue to mine in accordance with its granted approvals," a Peabody spokeswoman said via email Thursday.
Documents from the planning commission indicate that without the approval, the mine's life would end in 2026, and output would start to fall to an average of 7 million mt/year prior prior to that -- a reduction of about 6 million mt/year from current levels.
The approval allows for a minor increase in coal production capacity from the current 12.6 million mt/year to 13 million mt/year.
The spokeswoman said Peabody had operated the Wilpinjong mine for more than 10 years and had sold sold approximately 13.4 million short tonnes [12.16 million mt] of coal in 2017.
She said it targeted selling 7 million-8 million short tonnes in the domestic market in 2018, with the balance earmarked for export.