"Hume Coal is progressing with plans to employ some 400 people in construction and 300 during operation."
This is the response from Hume Coal project director Greig Duncan to recent criticism from Battle for Berrima about the mining company's latest submission to the Independent Planning Commission (IPC).
Battle for Berrima said that the response by Hume Coal to the IPC "had failed to provide any assurance about the very serious questions regarding numerous aspects of the proposal, especially the 'Pine Feather' mining technique, which has never been carried out in Australia."
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Battle for Berrima said that questions remained concerning land access, water and aquifer issues as the mine would be located within the Sydney Water Catchment Area.
However, Mr Duncan rejected the claims by Battle for Berrima as "the same tired and inaccurate information that has been a hallmark of those opposed to the biggest planned investment in the Southern Highlands."
Mr Duncan said that in May 2019 the IPC released its preliminary Assessment Report in which it made some 30 recommendations.
He said Hume Coal had now lodged a detailed submission to the Department of Planning, Infrastructure and Environment (DPIE) addressing the matters raised in the IPC report.
"The Hume Coal responses addressed the many recommendations for additional information requested by the IPC in particular, where Independent Experts were recommended to review certain aspects of the project," he said.
"These experts were engaged and conducted the reviews in the areas of mining, groundwater and economics.
"The matter is now before the DPIE for consideration before being referred to the IPC for final determination.
Mr Duncan said Hume Coal was progressing with its plans to employ some 400 people in construction and 300 during operation, subject to a satisfactory approval from the NSW government.
"All operational workers will be required to reside within 45 minutes driving time, contributing a significant increase in local income being spent in local businesses," he said.
"During the life of the project, some $1.65 billion will be spent in total operating costs - materials and consumables, excluding labour.
"Of this, up to 47 per cent could be sourced from local suppliers in the Southern Highlands region, highlighting the wide range of local businesses already geared up to support the project."