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Unity application to be delayed

Following earlier plans to have the modification to the approval for the Dargues Gold Mine submitted prior to Christmas, Unity Mining has now said it will delay the application until early next year.
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A gold pour at the Unity Mining Henty Plant in Tasmania. SOURCE: Unity Mining.

Unity says “As committed, further community engagement and information sessions will take place in both the Palerang and Eurobodalla shires in mid-December – further details on these sessions will be published shortly. Unity Mining will submit the modification once community consultations have concluded.”

Unity Mining Limited announced on 11th November that it is seeking a modification to the existing planning approval to advance the development of its $250 million Dargues Gold Mine at Majors Creek. Unity says “ The proposed modification includes four elements: Changing the location (within the site) of the surface waste rock emplacement to make it simpler to construct the Tailings Storage Facility, and to reduce visual impacts from Majors Creek.

Constructing a more direct access road to the Tailings Storage Facility and the relocated surface waste rock emplacement area, across Spring Creek. .

Modifying the plant design to enable final gold processing utilising cyanide to occur on site, providing a safer and more cost effective solution for the project and removing some 2,200 annual truck movements from the local road network.”

The proposed use of cyanide and processing onsite has caused alarm in the community after being earlier assured that no processing would ever be done onsite.

Unity is also wanting to extend the timeframe of the project to 6 years “reflect the delay in commencement of the mine operation, and increasing the maximum amount of ore that may be extracted and processed to align with the known Dargues ore resources.”

Activation of the gold mine will generate employment, training and education in the local area with about 100 jobs during construction and 120 residential jobs during operation of the mine.

Unity says that forecast NSW royalties of about $10 million will be payable over the current project life.

As a State Significant Development, any modifications will be sent to the Department of Planning. Last week Minister for Planning Pru Goward announced a suite of improvements to how state significant development proposals are processed, “speeding up the State’s

planning system and providing more certainty to communities and business.”

Ms Goward said it was in the interest of communities and industry to have a planning

system which assesses and determines applications efficiently.

Ms Goward said “We expect councils to assess development applications without delay, so we should hold ourselves to the same standards. The Government’s commitment is to reduce

the average time it takes to process state significant developments like manufacturing plants and mines by up to 170 days. These large and complex applications often require expert advice from government agencies other than the Department of Planning and Environment and this can add time to assessments.”

Ms Goward added “Importantly, opportunities for the community to have its say on developments will not change.”

The reforms include:

 Introducing clear timeframes for the PAC and other NSW Government assessment processes and clear accountability for meeting those timeframes;

 Appointing case managers from the Department of Premier and Cabinet to manage planning applications through complex government processes and be accountable to a Cabinet committee for delivering outcomes on time;

 Establishing a whole-of-government approach to assessing state significant mining applications to make sure that agencies responsible provide timely advice and feedback;

 Setting up a panel of independent experts who will advise the NSW Government and the PAC on technical issues;

 Giving clearer guidance to the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) on the application of government policies;

 Engaging better with communities affected by mining proposal by providing clearer information and more opportunities for community questions to be answered; and

 Appointing additional compliance officers in regional areas and ensuring conditions are being adhered to.

Ms Goward said the reforms would be implemented over the coming weeks and months to ensure certainty for both communities and industry across the state, who depend on a robust and efficient planning system.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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