Gloucester businesses and the local economy will benefit from a new mine proposed for Gloucester according to an independent Socio-economic Impact Assessment (SIA) prepared as part of its Environment Impact Statement (EIS).
The NSW Government, through the NSW Department of Planning & Infrastructure, has placed the EIS and Development Application for the Rocky Hill Coal Project on public exhibition until October 28.
The SIA was prepared by Hunter-based firm Key Insights and it found that, if approved, the Project will bring a number of benefits to the Gloucester Shire and beyond:
- 100 FTE construction jobs and 150 FTE jobs at full production as well as training and trades and tertiary educational opportunities for local people.
- Direct local spending by employees of between $3.1M and $8M annually with a local flow on benefit of between $7.1M and $18.5M annually once at full production.
- In excess of $4M in additional rates revenue to Council ($300,000 a year) as well as taxes and royalties to the NSW and Commonwealth governments.
- More than $2M in road improvements.
The SIA found that there were socio-economic community impacts from mining but that on balance there will be a net benefit to Gloucester during and beyond the life of the project.
The proponents of the mine, Gloucester Resources Limited (GRL), is also proposing a community grants program that will see the creation of a charitable trust to support local community projects as well as training and employment opportunities for local people and improvements to local health services and facilities. The trust will receive 50c per tonne of product coal which is expected to generate between $7 million and $8 million.
CEO Grant Polwarth said a lack of jobs is a really big issue for people in Gloucester and surrounding areas.
“We've had more than 350 expressions of interest from people in Gloucester and surrounding areas seeking work at the mine if it goes ahead, generated from just two adverts in the local paper,” Grant said.
The EIS details the safeguards GRL are proposing to minimise any impacts on the community, including construction of vegetated noise and visibility barriers and other extensive tree plantings (more than 9000 seedlings have already been planted) to screen almost all mining activities from public view.
“In response to community comments, we have gone beyond most other mining projects in the extent of our examination cumulative impacts, undertaking a community health study, and monitoring both PM10 and PM2.5 particles as part of our background air quality monitoring program.”
“We want to work with the local business community to ensure our mining coexists with and supports the local agriculture and tourism industries.”
GRL is a significant landholder in Gloucester and a farmer. The company currently runs 500 head of cattle and has committed to ensuring that all land not required for mining will be used for agriculture or conservation. It has worked with local company the Speldon Partnership, giving it land to expand the local dairy industry and employment.
More information, including copies of the EIS and details of how to make a submission to Government can be found on Rocky Hill Project website.
Pictured | Chris Maslen (right) on his dairy farm at Gloucester with GRL CEO, Grant Polwarth.