The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has recommended that Ashton South East Open Cut Coal’s request to clarify conditions relating to its proposed Singleton mine be approved by the Independent Planning Commission (IPC).

Ashton’s owner, a subsidiary of Yancoal Australia Ltd, requested a modification to clarify its responsibilities – as approved by the NSW Land and Environment Court in 2014.

However, the modification request does not affect the court’s requirement for Yancoal to purchase or otherwise reach agreement with Mrs Wendy Bowman, the owner of one of the key properties affected.

A department spokesperson said Yancoal had only requested to clarify the timing of when approval conditions were required to be met if the project was ever “taken up”.

“The department received many objections from the community concerned that Yancoal was attempting to water down the court’s requirements around the need to purchase Mrs Bowman’s property,” the spokesperson said.

“The department has been very respectful of these concerns and the Land and Environment Court’s requirements. Consequently, it has not recommended a number of the changes proposed by Yancoal.

“However, it does agree with Yancoal that some of the conditions in the existing approval are not clear as to their requirements, or when these requirements first need to be applied.

“The department has therefore recommended a number of minor changes to the conditions to clarity their intent to both Yancoal and the community.

“The IPC will now undertake its own consideration to determine whether this modification should go ahead.” 

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