The union for Hunter Valley coal miners said an application for a new coal exploration lease in Lake Macquarie, is ‘a matter of importance’ for the area.
The union is pushing for support from the community for the application.
Lake Coal is looking to explore 655 hectares south of Catherine Hill Bay, according to the ABC.
The union’s northern district president Peter Jordan said he is pleased Lake Coal is looking to expand its ventures despite the mining downturn and job losses in the coal sector.
“Lake Coal’s exploration licence, it’s a matter of importance for the coal industry and ongoing strength of the Hunter’s regional economy,” he said.
“These things are vital for new jobs and the ongoing employment of LakeCoal’s employees. We think the exploration needs support.
“It’ll provide benefits to the local communities, Newcastle generally, Hunter workers in general, local businesses.”
Lake Coal runs the Chain Valley colliery, which is around seven kilometres west of Catherine Hill Bay on the southern tip of Lake Macquarie.
A Lake Coal spokesman told the Newcastle Herald the company submitted an application to the NSW Minister for Resources and Energy for ‘consent to apply’ for an exploration licence over the 655-hectare area.
“The area is part of a previous mining lease and consolidated coal lease that was held by Lake Coal but relinquished back in 2003,” the spokesman said.
He added approval would not automatically mean exploration would happen, although this was the goal.
But if it did result in mining, the coal would be extracted through current infrastructure from the Chain Valley colliery.
According to a spokesman for the government’s Resources and Energy area, last week’s advertisement asked anyone eager to explore coal to submit an application with the minister Chris Hartcher.
“If consent is given and an application is lodged and subsequently granted, this would be an extension to Lake Coal’s existing activities, some of which have been in place since 1941,” the spokeswoman said.
Lake Coal said the exploration area is a section of a former mining lease which it gave up in 2003.
Its plans to expand Chain Valley colliery lease is open for public viewing with the NSW Department of Planning.
According to the documents, it wants to increase production at the underground mine from 1.2 million tonnes a year to 1.5 million tonnes.
It said part of the site was mined during the Moonee Colliery venture.
Lake Macquarie was recently overlooked for the Resources for Regions funding, making NSW Labor call for an overhaul of how the impacts of mining is examined.
Maitland and Cessnock also missed out on the funding.