Vickery is a proposal to construct a new open-cut coal mine and associated on-site infrastructure about 25 kilometres north of Gunnedah. The mine will produce predominantly metallurgical coal for steel-making, with the balance being high quality thermal coal destined for premium export markets in our region.
The proposal builds upon, and further optimises, an already-approved mine, on a site that has already been extensively and safely mined over many years – and will make Vickery, and our neighbouring operations, more efficient and sustainable over the longer term.
With an estimated capital cost of approximately $700 million the Vickery Extension Project represents one of the most significant investments currently underway in North West NSW.
The Vickery Extension Project is located in the Gunnedah Basin, approximately 25 kilometres north of Gunnedah and more than 10 km south-east of Boggabri.
It is situated within both the Gunnedah Shire Council and Narrabri Shire Council LGAs.
The Project is currently proceeding through Federal and State approvals.
The Vickery Extension Project will:
- Generate around 500 jobs during the construction phase and roughly 450 jobs during operations, adding to the company’s existing 2,400 strong workforce, 75 percent of whom live locally.
- Contribute $271 million in net present value (NPV) terms in wages that will help stimulate and support local businesses and the economy.
- Contribute a net economic benefit to NSW of $1.2 billion in net present value terms (e.g. from the generation of additional tax revenue and royalties) – money that will help fund schools, hospitals, roads and other state government priorities.
- Entail the construction of a new coal handling and preparation plant (CHPP) onsite at Vickery and new rail spur to service the mine. This infrastructure will enable Whitehaven to remove coal haulage trucks from the Kamilaroi Highway and improve road safety and amenity.
- Create a final landform that is better integrated and more compatible with the surrounding landscape including an improved Western Emplacement, avoiding construction of the Approved Eastern Emplacement, and reducing the number of voids from 5 (currently) to 2.
The proposal is now in the final stages of the NSW Government’s rigorous approval process.
The Project rail spur will traverse a south westerly direction from the mine.
East of the Namoi River, the rail spur would be located entirely on land owned by Whitehaven. South West of the Namoi River, the rail spur would be located on land owned by two landholders which Whitehaven holds land access agreements with.
The rail spur and associated rail crossing over the Namoi River have been designed so they are consistent with the requirements of the draft Upper Namoi Floodplain Management Plan (OEH, 2016).
The rail spur has been designed to minimise any upstream impacts, minimise changes to flood velocities and minimise the diversion of flood flows.
Where the rail spur crosses the Namoi River and Kamilaroi Highway it would be elevated on viaduct structures to minimise impacts to the flooding regime and provide sufficient clearance for vehicles travelling along the Kamilaroi Highway.
It is expected construction of the rail spur and line will take approximately 12 months.
The NSW Independent Planning Commission will advise the time and location of any public meetings in relation to the Vickery Extension Project on its website.
Prior to the EIS being lodged Whitehaven had in excess of 400 interactions with community and other stakeholders to consult and seek input on the Project.
Since the EIS was lodged community members and organisations had the opportunity to provide input to the assessment process during the EIS exhibition period and first IPC public hearing process.
60% of submissions to the EIS and 75% of submissions to the NSW Independent Planning Commission were supportive of the Project.
We engage with the community through a variety of means including through:
- Scheduled 1:1 interactions
- Community newsletters
- Locally-focussed qualitative and quantitative research (i.e. focus groups and telephone surveys) to test community sentiment and identify issues of interest and concern
- Mine open days
- Whitehaven-sponsored community initiatives totalling $0.515M in FY19
- The Vickery Community Consultative Committee
- The Whitehaven Coal website and the Project-specific Vickery webpage.
Around 500 jobs will be required during the construction phase and roughly 450 jobs during operations, adding to the company’s existing 2,400 strong workforce, 75 percent of whom live locally.
This compares with 60 construction and 250 operational jobs for the Approved Mine.
The increased tonnage of coal will add to Whitehaven financial contributions and, in the case of royalty payments to the NSW Government alone, represents a difference of +$261M compared to the Approved Mine scenario.
The Vickery Extension Project will contribute $271 million in wages that will help stimulate and support local businesses and the economy.
Whenever possible, contractors and permanent employees of the mine will be sourced from the local area so that the money Whitehaven salaries / wages are returned to the local economy.
We are committed to maintaining the 75% local component across our workforce and we have set a 10% target for Indigenous employees at Vickery.
Potential project approval is still some way off and we would not be looking to fill roles until that point. Nonetheless you can register your interest, and see other employment opportunities on our Job Opportunities page.
We have developed a comprehensive water management strategy for the site that is consistent with industry best practice.
At this stage it is anticipated that all licensable water use for the Project will be covered by Water Access Licences.
Whitehaven’s peer-reviewed modelling and analysis contained in the EIS indicates that any mine related impacts on the Namoi River floodplain would be consistent with the requirements of the Upper Namoi Floodplain Management Plan. The Project mining area would be located more than 1 km from the Namoi River at its closest point.
As per the Approved Mine, the Project mining area would be located more than 1 km from the Namoi River at is closest point.
Whitehaven’s peer-reviewed modelling and analysis detailed in the Environmental Impact Statement shows that any mine related impacts on the Namoi River floodplain would be consistent with the requirements of the Upper Namoi Floodplain Management Plan.
The rail spur and associated rail crossing over the Namoi River have been designed so they will be consistent with the requirements of the Upper Namoi Floodplain Management Plan.
Peer reviewed assessment of proposed extension activities on the water table indicate that no significant water table drawdown are envisaged or likely given the demonstrated hydrogeological conditions.
Wherever Whitehaven operations interact with agriculture, we engage with farmers, landowners and government regulators and seek to minimise impacts on non-mining land.
The mine will be located on land that has been mined previously and is of low agricultural value.
In line with our Land Management Strategy, Whitehaven leases a significant portion of our land holdings back to local farmers to maximise its sustainable economic use.