Glencore‘s Ulan coal mine has secured approval from the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment in Australia to expand its underground mine northeast of Mudgee.

The approved modification application will allow changes to the layout of Ulan main west area to extract another 13 million tonnes of coal and increase the project area by 275ha.

It will also extend the mine’s operational life by another two until 2033.

"The assessment has found that potential subsidence levels will not substantially increase at the mine."

After receiving the application, the department publicly exhibited it between April and May 2015 and received seven submissions including one public objection, five submissions from government agencies and one submission from the Wellington Valley Wiradjuri Aboriginal.

Government agencies did not object Ulan’s mine expansion proposal.

Prior to approving the application, the department considered key issues such as potential subsidence impacts, groundwater and surface water impacts, as well as effects on aboriginal heritage sites and biodiversity values.

All issues that were raised during consultation were assessed and addressed by the department in its assessment and conditions of approval.

The assessment has found that potential subsidence levels will not substantially increase at the mine.

Ulma needs to meet strict subsidence performance measures and update all approved management plans including the water, biodiversity, and heritage management to reflect the changes to the mine.

Further the company is required to prepare a salvage research and impact mitigation strategy by working with the local aboriginal community for various cultural heritage sites.

The proposal may not increase the noise impacts of the mine and also reduce expected impacts to native vegetation by changing the location of some of the mine’s infrastructure.

The amount of White Box Woodland trees affected by mine infrastructure is set to come down from 22ha to 8.5ha.