Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the questions below to see the answers.

Project overview

KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) proposes to develop the Bylong Coal Project (the Project), located approximately 55 km north-east of Mudgee and 53 km from Denman.

In December 2010, KEPCO acquired Authorisations (A) 287 and A342 in the Mid-Western Regional Council local government area (LGA), New South Wales (NSW). KEPCO has been carrying out exploration activities in these areas since 2010 to define the resources for potential future mining.

The Project is now in the approvals stage. KEPCO is seeking development consent for the Project under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and then a Mining Lease for its proposed activities.

The Project proposes to mine up to 6.5 million tonnes of run of mine coal per annum for supply to the thermal coal export market. The mine will include two open-cut mining areas and an underground mining area. Subject to government approvals, construction is proposed to commence in 2017.

The Project life is approximately 25 years comprising a two year construction period and 23 year operational period, with open-cut operations commencing first and lasting about nine years, and operation of an underground mine commencing in around year 7 of the project.

Coal will be transported from the Project site to the Port of Newcastle via rail. This will require the construction of a rail loop connecting to the existing Sandy Hollow to Gulgong Railway Line which runs through the site.

The mine is anticipated to employ up to 665 people during construction and provide direct employment for up to 470 workers during operations, with an annual direct workforce of approximately 290 workers.

The Bylong Coal Project (the Project) is located in the Mid-Western Regional Council Local Government Area of New South Wales. It is located primarily in the Upper Bylong portion of the Bylong Valley with the small settlement of Bylong located within the western portion of the Authorisations. The Project is approximately 55 km north-east of Mudgee and 53 km west of Denman.

The main mine access will utilise Upper Bylong Road to convey all mine traffic from the Bylong Valley Way to the mine site. It is proposed that Upper Bylong Road will be widened from Bylong Valley Way to the mine infrastructure areas to accommodate the anticipated mine traffic.

The development of the proposed open cut mining areas will likely require the realignment of a section of Upper Bylong Road. The realignment would occur along the southern side of the Sandy Hollow to Gulgong Railway Line to connect with Wooleys Road, providing continued access for private landholders to the east of the project. An alternative site access route may utilise Lee Creek Road to the south. Project-related traffic will also likely utilise Wollar Road when travelling to/from Mudgee.

KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) has considered a number of options in relation to maintaining access to the Bylong Valley Way for neighbouring landholders located on Lee Creek Road (south of the project area), who will be affected by the Upper Bylong Road closure and realignment. To address concerns regarding property access as raised by local stakeholders, KEPCO propose to construct a new road named North Link Road.

The proposed North Link Road will involve the construction of a road connecting the Upper Bylong Road to the north with Lee Creek Road to the south, to provide alternate access for landholders. The North Link Road is believed to provide the most appropriate alternative access to landholders to the south of the Project to Bylong Valley Way.

The North Link Road is proposed to be constructed entirely within the Project Disturbance Boundary assessed within the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and will be designed as a sealed road, to as good or better standard than the section of the existing Upper Bylong Road to be decommissioned.

The Bylong Coal Project (the Project) is likely to increase traffic movements on local roads. The level of project related traffic will vary depending on the project phase, with peak movements expected during project construction. The proposed transport routes have been refined as part of the Project EIS and feasibility studies, with the aim of minimising impacts to the local community and general public. KEPCO will implement traffic management plans to ensure safe and efficient management of the traffic network throughout construction and operational phases of the project.

It is proposed that a rail spur and loading loop be constructed to adjoin the existing Sandy Hollow-Gulgong Railway Line. The rail loop (and train load-out bin) will be located on the northern side of the main line. All coal produced will be transported via rail to the Port of Newcastle. The Bylong Coal Project will require an average of 2 trains per day. There is adequate capacity of the Sandy Hollow to Gulgong Railway Line to accommodate this demand.

Project management

KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) is the owner of the Bylong Coal Project. KEPCO has appointed WorleyParsons to manage the Project on its behalf. WorleyParsons is facilitating KEPCO in the delivery of the Project’s exploration activities, environmental approvals and ongoing environmental monitoring. Subject to the Project obtaining all necessary approvals, WorleyParsons will also manage construction activities.

Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) is the largest electric utility in South Korea, generating 85% of South Korea's electricity for industrial, commercial, residential, educational and agricultural customers. KEPCO’s electricity generation utilises wind, coal and nuclear energy sources. The South Korean government owns a 51% share of KEPCO and the company is involved in projects in 13 countries worldwide.

WorleyParsons is a global company with a strong presence across Australia. WorleyParsons has effectively delivered large-scale resource projects across the world, and has significant experience in the delivery of projects to best practice safety, environmental and community standards. WorleyParsons has the experience and capability to successfully manage the Bylong Coal Project through the next development stage.

Project planning and approvals

Exploration work to date has defined a mineable coal resource within Authorisations 287 and 342. KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) is now seeking development consent under the New South Wales (NSW) Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The first step in the approvals process was an independent assessment by the Mining and Petroleum Gateway Panel, of the potential impacts by the Project on Strategic Agricultural Land and associated groundwater. This resulted in the Project receiving a conditional Gateway Certificate on 15 April 2014.

The outcomes of the gateway process guided the Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs - formally Director General Requirements or DGRs), issued by the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E) in June 2014. The SEARs define comprehensive environmental assessment requirements to be addressed by the Bylong Coal Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The SEARs are available to the public on the DP&E website www.majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au (type “Bylong Coal Project” in the project search box).

The Bylong Coal Project (the Project) was also referred to the Australian Government Department of Environment (DoE) and declared a ‘controlled action’ in early 2014. Subsequently, the Project is required to assess Matters of National Environmental Significance under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The assessment process under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 has been formally accredited for the purpose of assessing the impacts of the controlled action. The SEARs for the Project incorporate the DoE's environmental assessment requirements.

The Development Application (DA) and supporting project EIS were submitted to the DP&E in July 2015, and placed on public exhibition by DP&E for a period of 6 weeks from Wednesday 23 September 2015 until Friday 6 November 2015. DP&E received a total of 383 submissions on the Project EIS.

In response to these submissions, KEPCO prepared a detailed Response to Submissions report, which was submitted to DP&E in March 2016. Additional matters raised by a small number of stakeholders were addressed in a Supplementary Response to Submissions report submitted in August 2016. Following the DP&E’s consideration of these reports, and preparation of the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Report, the application has been referred to the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) for review and consideration.

In May 2017, the PAC held a public hearing of submissions from residents, the local community and other stakeholders on the Bylong Coal Project. On 26 July 2017, the PAC released the Bylong Coal Project Review Report. The Review Report and other information relating to the Project approval assessment are available here.

The Project has been assessed by the NSW DP&E, with input and advice from a range of other Government agencies and advisory bodies. KEPCO is thoroughly reviewing the findings of the PAC Review Report and working to address the issues raised. Current practise is that DP&E will prepare a further assessment report, giving consideration to the PAC findings, and refer back to the PAC.

Final determination of the Project's Development Application (DA) will be made by the PAC as the delegate of the Minister for Planning, with input from the Australian Government on Matters of National Environmental Significance under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The PAC may hold a public meeting prior to making their determination. Once the PAC makes a determination in respect to the DA, it will publish a Determination Report on its website.

For further information on the EIS and approvals process, please visit the Environmental Approvals page.

The purpose of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is to describe in detail the proposed project, understand the existing environment of the project area, identify potential environmental and social impacts of the proposed development, and then manage these impacts through avoidance, mitigation and offsetting. The EIS also identifies actions to enhance project benefits and social opportunities for the local region.

Collection of environmental monitoring data commenced in April 2011 and is being used to assess the baseline environmental conditions and set monitoring thresholds. In addition, extensive community and stakeholder consultation is ongoing to ensure that stakeholder issues are adequately addressed.

The EIS was submitted to the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment in July 2015, and was placed on public exhibition for a period of 6 weeks from Wednesday 23 September 2015 until Friday 6 November 2015. For further information on the EIS and approvals process, please visit the Environmental Approvals page.

The Environmental Impact Statement is being undertaken by Hansen Bailey, an environmental consultancy that services mining and related industries. They are industry leaders in the management of integrated environmental impact assessments and stakeholder engagement programs.

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been prepared in accordance with the Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements issued by the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment, and is supported by a suite of robust technical studies, coupled with an extensive community and stakeholder engagement program.

Technical studies completed as part of the EIS include:

  • Subsidence Impact Assessment
  • Archaeological Assessment for Historical Burials
  • Historic Heritage Impact Assessment
  • Aboriginal Archaeology and Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment
  • Soils, Land Capability and Strategic Agricultural Land Assessment
  • Rehabilitation Strategy and Biophysical Strategic Agricultural Land Reinstatement Plan
  • Biodiversity Offsets Strategy
  • Ecological Impact Assessment
  • Groundwater Impact Assessment
  • Surface Water Impact Assessment
  • Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Impact Assessment
  • Noise and Blasting Impact Assessment
  • Agricultural Impact Statement
  • Visual Impact Assessment
  • Traffic and Transport Impact Assessment
  • Stygofauna Impact Assessment
  • Geochemical Impact Assessment
  • Social Impact Assessment
  • Economics Impact Assessment
  • Contamination Impact Assessment
  • Preliminary Hazard Analysis.

KEPCO appointed WorleyParsons to manage the delivery of the Environmental Impacts Statement (EIS), which was prepared by Hansen Bailey. Both WorleyParsons and Hansen Bailey have significant experience and knowledge of Australian and New South Wales (NSW) environmental legislation and understand the processes of obtaining approvals for mining projects. The EIS was prepared in accordance with the Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements issued by the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment and is supported by a suite of robust technical studies coupled with an extensive community and stakeholder engagement program. The EIS and technical studies have been peer reviewed by experienced specialists.

Terms of Reference for the New South Wales (NSW) Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) review of the proposal have been determined by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E). In May 2017, the PAC held a public hearing on the Bylong Coal Project (the Project) in Mudgee. On 26 July 2017, the PAC submitted their Review Report to DP&E, who is now considering the PAC findings.

In addition to State planning approval, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) prescribes the Australian Government’s role in environmental assessment, biodiversity conservation and the management of protected areas of national significance. The EPBC Act is administered by the Australian Government’s Department of Environment (DoE) and provides protection for listed Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNES).

Under the EPBC Act, any action that is considered likely to have an impact on MNES must be referred to the Australian Minister for the Environment. The purpose of the referral is to determine if the Bylong Coal Project (the Project) constitutes a ‘controlled action’ requiring approval from the Australian Government under the EPBC Act.

A referral for the Project was submitted to the DoE in February 2014, and the Project was subsequently deemed a ‘controlled action’. Australian Government approval of the Project is being sought concurrently with the State approval through the utilisation of the Bilateral Agreement process under the EPBC Act.

The Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements for the Project include the DoE’s environmental assessment requirements and an assessment of potential impacts on MNES has been completed as part of the Environmental Impact Statement.

KEPCO will be required to obtain a number of other licences and approvals under New South Wales legislation to enable the construction and operation of the Bylong Coal Project (the Project). Relevant approvals will be sought under legislation including, but potentially not limited to:

  • Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
  • Roads Act 1993
  • Crown Lands Act 1989
  • Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997
  • Forestry Act 2012
  • Radiation Control Act 1990
  • Mining Act 1992
  • Water Management Act 2000
  • Water Act 1912
  • Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011
  • Work Health and Safety (Mines) Regulation 2014
  • Public Health Regulation 2012.

Some of these approvals will be required prior to commencement of construction activities, while others may only be required at various stages of construction and operation of the Project. Sections 89J and 89K of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 are relevant to the operation of some of these approvals.

Project timeframes

Pending Government approvals, construction is proposed to commence in the first quarter of 2018.

The project life is approximately 25 years, comprising a two year construction period and a 23 year operational period. Underground mining operations are expected to commence in year 7. Various rehabilitation and decommissioning activities will be undertaken during both the course of, and following the 25 years of the Bylong Coal Project.

It is anticipated that the approved mining operations will be decommissioned around 2043. A Mine Closure Plan will be developed for the Bylong Coal Project five years prior to decommission, which will consider regulatory requirements, new decommission technologies and stakeholder expectations.

KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) is committed to rolling out an industry leading rehabilitation program and is developing a long-term rehabilitation strategy. The majority of the areas to be disturbed by the open cut operations and associated infrastructure will be rehabilitated to include a mix of pasture, fodder cropping and native vegetation areas. The final landform will reinstate an equivalent amount of higher quality agricultural lands (i.e. Class 3 and 4) to mitigate the long-term impact of mining activities.

Rehabilitation of the open cut mining areas will commence progressively in the third year of mining, minimising the time land is removed from productive use. Early progressive rehabilitation will ensure that the majority of the open cut mining areas will be fully rehabilitated and returned to a landform consistent with pre-mining conditions within 10 years of the project commencing. The balance of the open cut area will be progressively filled and rehabilitated with reject materials generated through the underground mining operation.

Project workforce and procurement

The Bylong Coal Project (the Project) will strengthen local and regional economies by providing an estimated 665 full-time equivalent jobs during peak project construction. The Project’s operational phase is estimated to generate up to 470 full-time equivalent jobs during peak production with an average annual direct workforce of approximately 290 workers. There will also be substantial opportunities for local contractors and suppliers throughout the Project’s construction and operational phases.

The Bylong Coal Project (the Project) will require employees from a range of professions such as engineers, safety managers, environmental professionals, heavy machinery operators, skilled underground mine workers and maintenance personnel. Direct employment opportunities and tenders for suppliers and contractors will be advertised on the Project website and via other appropriate channels, such as newspaper and radio advertisements, as required. Interested parties will also be able to register their details on the project website.

KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) is committed to providing locals an opportunity to participate in the Bylong Coal Project (the Project). KEPCO is focused on achieving an efficient supply chain while maximising economic growth of the region by affording local businesses the opportunity to grow and build their capacity to service the Project. Where it is reasonable, lawful and economically practical, KEPCO and its contractors will source professional and contract labour from within the Project’s region, New South Wales and Australia. KEPCO has a Local Content Policy and is preparing a Local Content Strategy to facilitate the engagement of local employees and suppliers.

Following extensive and ongoing consultation with Mid-Western Regional Council, KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO)proposes to seek approval for a temporary workforce accommodation facility for the workers that cannot be housed within Mudgee and its surrounds (that is, the geographical area within a one hour commute of the Bylong Coal Project (the Project) site, assuming Wollar Road upgrade completed prior to project year 1). The project workforce will therefore be accommodated through a combination of the use of:

  • A temporary workforce accommodation facility near the project site during the construction phase
  • Existing KEPCO-owned housing in the Bylong Valley
  • Private housing in the local area (i.e. within a one hour commute of the Project)
  • Short-term (e.g. rental) accommodation options in the local area as necessary.

During operations, KEPCO will encourage the operational workforce to source accommodation locally.

KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) is corporately committed to effective social performance management and maintaining positive community relations. Facilitating Indigenous participation through employment and business opportunities is a key component of this, and of continuing to enhance the company’s social license to operate.

KEPCO’s approach to Indigenous participation considers not only the employment of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people but also the engagement with, and development of, Indigenous businesses and the Indigenous people living in the communities in which we operate. KEPCO has an Indigenous Participation Policy and is preparing an Indigenous Participation Strategy to facilitate Indigenous engagement.

KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) is committed to providing competitive local, New South Wales (NSW) and Australian suppliers with full, fair and reasonable opportunity to participate in economic opportunities afforded by the Bylong Coal Project (the Project). KEPCO is focused on achieving an efficient supply chain while maximising economic growth of the region by affording local businesses the opportunity to grow and build their capacity to service the Project. Where it is reasonable, lawful and economically practical, KEPCO and its contractors will source professional and contract labour from within the Project’s region, NSW and Australia. KEPCO has a Local Content Policy and is preparing a Local Content Strategy to facilitate the engagement of local employees and suppliers.

As project manager, WorleyParsons will facilitate a major contracts tender process via invitation. Pending Government approvals, construction of the Bylong Coal Project (the Project) is proposed to commence in early 2018.

Successful major package tenderers will be responsible for the appointment of individual vendors, for smaller parcels of work, in accordance with WorleyParsons’ procurement guidelines. The guidelines will cover aspects such as the required capability and capacity of sub-contractors, and expectations regarding local business participation and capacity building.

Please visit our Suppliers & Contractors page for further information.

Land access and property acquisitions

During the Environmental Impacts Statement stage of the Bylong Coal Project, KEPCO Bylong Australia, WorleyParsons and Hansen Bailey personnel and our sub-contractors accessed properties within and neighbouring the proposed project area to undertake environmental monitoring activities including local fauna and flora surveys, ground and surface water systems monitoring, and the gathering of baseline air quality and noise data.

KEPCO Bylong Australia is committed to reaching mutually agreeable terms and conditions of access with landholders and/or tenants before accessing properties. Land access for preliminary assessment activities (such as exploration and environmental monitoring) is facilitated through the negotiation of formal Land Access Agreements with relevant landholders. Land Access Agreements typically define the scope of the proposed activities to be carried out, land access conditions specific to the property and compensation arrangements, where appropriate.

Once a Land Access Agreement is in place, verbal notification is provided to the individual landholders prior to any activity taking place. The project team is committed to ensuring that we minimise disruption to local landholders as much as possible. We work together with landholders to determine the best times of the day or week for us to access their property.

Land acquisitions are a component of the Project’s development as they provide certainty to KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) and to local landholders. Project noise and air quality modelling activities being undertaken as part of the Project Environmental Impact Statement have facilitated the identification of specific properties where predicted amenity impacts are determined to be unacceptable. These properties are said to fall within the Project’s Zone of Affectation. Should the Project be granted approval, these landholders will be provided the opportunity to accept mitigation measures or have their property acquired by the Proponent (KEPCO) in accordance with the New South Wales Voluntary Land Acquisition and Mitigation Policy (December 2014).

If a property is identified as appropriate to purchase, KEPCO Bylong Australia will approach the property owner to instigate a negotiation process. A key part of this process will be the engagement of independent valuation services to assess the value of the property. Valuation assessments are typically based on a range of factors including the use(s) and quality of the land, the extent of property infrastructure, unique property features, and historical sales data from comparable properties.

Property management

KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) is committed to no net loss of agricultural productivity from the area over the life the Project. KEPCO has implemented active farming initiatives aimed at maintaining the agricultural viability of purchased properties and KEPCO appointed an Farm Manager to oversee the agricultural aspect of KEPCO owned properties. The Farm Manager has developed farm management plans and systems to best utilise the land for the life of the Project and beyond. Regular weed and pest management activities will continue to take place on site and surrounding areas as part of ongoing property management practices.

While the Bylong Valley has historic links to the thoroughbred breeding industry, there are no operating thoroughbred studs remaining in the Bylong Valley, or within 10 km of the Project site. The Project site is located at the south-western extremity of the Upper Hunter Equine Critical Industry Cluster (Equine CIC), more than 120 kilometres from the major horse breeding centre in the Equine CIC, Scone.

Historically Tarwyn Park and Bylong Park in the Bylong Valley have been used for thoroughbred breeding. However, Tarwyn Park has not been used as a thoroughbred operation for well over a decade, and Bylong Park relocated its breeding operations to the Hunter Valley in 2012.

The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment's (DP&E) Assessment Report acknowledged that the Project is unlikely to have any significant impact on the Equine CIC. While 515 hectares of mapped Equine CIC land within the biodiversity offset areas would be permanently lost to equine or agricultural use, the DP&E and Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) considered that biodiversity conservation is the highest and best use for these lands, which include areas of critically endangered Box Gum Woodland.

The changes to the surface of the land that occur after the underground support structures are removed at the completion of a longwall mining operation are known as subsidence. These changes may include cracking or increased undulation of the ground surface, increased ponding in waterways and some changes to cliff faces in the vicinity of the underground extraction area.

Subsidence as a result of the Bylong Coal Project (the Project) is variable across the Subsidence Study Area and is predicted to peak at a maximum of around 3.3 metres. The areas likely to be affected include several agricultural properties owned by KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO), the Bylong Quarry, Bylong State Forest, Bylong Valley Way and other communication and power infrastructure located on KEPCO owned land. KEPCO will continue to liaise with stakeholders likely to be impacted. Much of the agricultural land that will be impacted by subsidence will be rehabilitated and revegetated to form part of the Project’s Biodiversity Offset Areas.  

KEPCO will develop detailed Extraction Plans prior to the commencement of longwall mining operations which include specific plans to manage subsidence impacts on privately owned properties, built features and roads, water, biodiversity, heritage features and public safety.

Underground mining will be positioned and undertaken in a manner to minimise subsidence related impacts on sensitive surface features. Mitigation measures will be put in place to prevent or correct any incidental impacts to the various surface infrastructure within the Subsidence Study Area, including the Bylong Valley Way and a 22kV electricity distribution line.

In its Assessment Report, the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E) accepted that the subsidence associated with the Project is able to be minimised, managed, or at least compensated for, to an acceptable standard. The DP&E has recommended a suite of conditions that reflect the standard framework for managing subsidence in NSW, and require KEPCO to:

• meet a number of performance measures to protect or manage impacts on natural and built features within the subsidence affectation area

• remediate or repair subsidence impacts

• provide additional offsets in the event that impacts or consequences are greater than the performance measures

• prepare and implement comprehensive Extraction Plan(s). Former Upper Bylong Catholic Church and Cemetery.

Rural amenity and community

KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) has designed the Bylong Coal Project (the Project) to avoid and minimise direct social impacts. KEPCO will develop and implement a Social Impact Management Plan which documents the full suite of mitigation strategies proposed for the Project, including mitigation strategies to be potentially funded via the Community Investment Fund and Voluntary Planning Agreement.

The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment's draft conditions require KEPCO to prepare and implement the Social Impact Management Plan in consultation with the Mid-Western Regional Council, the Project Community Consultative Committee and the local community of Bylong.

The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment's Assessment Report found that amenity impacts associated with the open cut mining operations could be managed to an acceptable standard, and that the Bylong Coal Project (the Project) would comply with applicable air quality and blasting criteria at all privately-owned residences. The report also noted that KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) has acquired almost all the properties likely to be affected by amenity impacts.

The Assessment Report found that while the Project would result in some changes to the visual landscape of the Bylong Valley, these impacts would be relatively localised, with the Project elements generally hidden from Bylong Village, most rural residences and Bylong Valley Way. The visual assessment indicates that there would be no perceptible views of Project elements from Bylong Village, due to screening vegetation, and therefore the Project would have a low visual impact on the Bylong Village.

The Assessment Report acknowledged KEPCO’s commitment to minimise visual impacts, particularly though the backfilling of the open cut voids, promptly rehabilitating the emplacement areas, and avoiding subsidence of key cliff lines. The Assessment Report found that while the Project would transform (in the short term) the local landscape from rural to a mining/industrial setting, in the longer term Project rehabilitation would return the site to a landscape generally similar to the existing setting.

In its Environmental Impact Statement, KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) proposed a number of measures to avoid or mitigate visual and lighting impacts. These included reducing the open cut mining component of the operation, locating the mine infrastructure area between existing topographical features to provide a natural screen, shaping and landscaping overburden emplacements and rehabilitation areas to mimic natural landform and painting infrastructure in ‘forest tones’ where possible to blend with the surrounding environment.

KEPCO also proposed to provide landscape treatments for privately-owned residences predicted to be visually impacted by the Project, and provide screening vegetation along public roads, particularly along the realigned Upper Bylong Road adjacent to the Sandy Hollow to Gulgong Railway Line.

In addition to the extensive measures to minimise and mitigate visual impacts already proposed by KEPCO, the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment's draft conditions require KEPCO to put in place additional measures, for examples site-specific landscaping treatments, to reduce visual impacts, if requested in writing by landowners with significant direct views of the mining operations.

The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment's (DP&E) Assessment Report found that noise levels at all but one privately-owned residence would remain below the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA’s) recommended ‘acceptable’ night-time noise amenity criteria of 40 dBA for a rural area, as defined under the NSW Industrial Noise Policy, and well below the maximum night-time amenity criteria of 45 dBA.

Prior to commencing any development, the DP&E's draft conditions require KEPCO Bylong Australia to prepare and implement a Noise Management Plan for the Bylong Coal Project (to the satisfaction of the Secretary), and in consultation with the EPA and the Project Community Consultative Committee.

KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) has committed to the development of a real-time noise monitoring and management system as part of the comprehensive Noise Management Plan for the Bylong Coal Project (the Project), which uses a combination of real-time monitoring and weather forecasting to predict and prevent noise exceedances.

Real-time noise management systems have proven effective in managing noise impacts at other open cut mines in New South Wales (NSW), particularly for residences where marginal exceedances are predicted in the modelling. With such a system in place, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment believes that the number of marginally affected properties could be further reduced.

Throughout the Project life, KEPCO would be required to independently investigate potential noise complaints and undertake applicable management measures and communicate mining operations with the community, including publicly reporting all monitoring results, and effectively responding to enquiries and complaints.

KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) has acquired almost all the properties likely to be affected by noise amenity impacts. However, the New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment has recommended that KEPCO be required to implement additional noise mitigation measures (such as double glazing, insulation, and/or air conditioning) at six privately-owned residences which are predicted to be moderately or significantly affected by noise, if requested by the landholder.

Yes, some blasting will be required. The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment’s (DP&E) draft conditions restrict blasting on the Bylong Coal Project (the Project) site to between 9am and 5pm Monday to Saturday inclusive. No blasting is allowed on Sundays, public holidays, or at any other time without the written approval of the DP&E’s Secretary.

The draft conditions also limit the blast frequency for the Project to two blasts per day and six blasts per week at the Project site. However, the draft conditions do not apply to blasts that generate ground vibration of 0.5 mm/s or less at any privately-owned residence, blast misfires and blasts required to ensure the safety of the mine, its workers or the general public.

Under the DP&E’s draft conditions, KEPCO would be required to prepare and implement a Blast Management Plan in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the Project Community Consultative Committee. The plan would include a road closure management plan for blasting within 500 metres of a public road, to be prepared in consultation with Mid-Western Regional Council, a blast fume management protocol and a risk based blasting permissions protocol.

The Blast Management Plan would also include a monitoring program for evaluating and reporting on compliance with the blasting criteria and operating conditions of consent, and site specific blast management plan/s to minimise or manage impacts on heritage items or cultural sites.

The DP&E’s draft conditions include provisions for KEPCO to investigate, and make good, any damage to building or structures on privately owned land within 3 kilometres of any approved open cut mining pit/s on the Project site that can be shown by an independent, experienced and qualified person, to be caused by blasting.

In its assessment of the Project, the New South Wales Environmental Protection Agency found that there were unlikely to be significant dust-related impacts to any privately-owned land in the locality.

KEPCO Bylong Australis (KEPCO) proposes to implement a proactive air quality management system that uses a combination of real-time dust monitoring and weather forecasting to guide the day-to-day planning of mining operations. The system would be used to prevent air quality impacts during these adverse weather conditions as far as practicable.

The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment's (DP&E) Assessment Report notes that such active management systems are now common for mining projects in places like the Hunter Valley, with results indicating that predicted impacts (particularly in relation to short-term dust impacts) are able to be significantly reduced or eliminated due to adaptive management in response to weather conditions.

KEPCO has also committed to implementing a number of other best practice mitigation measures to control air emissions, including using water carts and/or dust suppressants on all active haul roads, installing dust control systems on drill rigs, orienting coal stockpiles to minimise dust and restricting blasting during adverse meteorological conditions.

To ensure a quick and effective response to any dust exceedances, the DP&E’s draft conditions require that KEPCO develop a comprehensive Air Quality Management Plan, including a real-time dust monitoring program and an active management system. The draft conditions also require that KEPCO independently investigate air quality exceedances and undertake applicable management measures, respond effectively to enquiries or complaints and publicly report on its environmental performance.

Preserving heritage

The Catholic Diocese of Bathurst ceased using the former Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and Cemetery at Upper Bylong in 2000 and in 2008 sold the site to an adjoining private landholder. That owner sold their land (including the former church and cemetery site) in 2010 to a pastoral company. The pastoral company (including its landholdings) was subsequently purchased by KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) in 2014. As the former church and cemetery are within the footprint of the proposed Bylong Coal Project (the Project), the graves need to be relocated should the Project’s Development Application be approved. KEPCO has, and will continue to maintain the grounds of the cemetery.

The former cemetery falls within the proposed mine footprint and the graves will therefore need to be relocated should the Project receive development consent.

KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) has engaged a highly experienced archaeologist and historian to investigate and assess the historical and archaeological significance of the graves.

KEPCO recognises that the relocations are a sensitive issue which needs to be worked through in discussion with affected families. KEPCO is fully committed to engaging relatives and descendants so appropriate arrangements to relocate the graves can be made in consultation with the families.

KEPCO is liaising with a number of relatives who have come forward or have been identified by our heritage specialists. KEPCO is following strict Government guidelines put in place to regulate the process and all appropriate approvals are being sought.

The relocations are proposed to take place after the New South Wales Government grants the necessary approvals and consents and relocation arrangements have been confirmed with relatives.

Further information on the relocation process is provided in the Former Upper Bylong Catholic Church and Cemetery fact sheet.

The Bylong Coal Project is a State Significant Development and approvals are sought under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Statutory permits and approvals for the exhumations will be obtained in accordance with Clause 69 of the Public Health (Disposal of Bodies) Regulation 2012. Consultation with descendants, Mid-Western Regional Council, Catholic and Anglican Dioceses and New South Wales Health will continue to be undertaken during this process.

KEPCO Bylong Australia is currently investigating the feasibility of potentially relocating the former church and finding a suitable reuse for the building. There are many factors influencing the potential feasibility to relocate the former church building, including its structural condition and transportability. Discussions have commenced with stakeholders about potential alternative uses.

The remains of five racehorses are known to be buried within the Tarwyn Park property, namely Rain Lover, Eleazar, Colourman, Ngawyni and Crazy Moon. Rain Lover won two consecutive Melbourne Cups in 1968 and 1969, and Ngawyni won the Australian Cup in 1977. Given that the remains are located within the proposed project footprint, these will need to be identified where possible and removed should the Project receive development consent.

KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) is mindful of the social value that these remains may hold for local residents, as well as the significance of these horses to the region’s equine history. As such, the company has engaged a highly experienced archaeologist to investigate and assess the historical and archaeological significance of the horse burials and develop a Burial Management Plan. KEPCO has consulted with relevant stakeholders, including the former owners of Tarwyn Park and equine and racing industry representatives and organisations. The outcomes of this consultation and archaeological investigations will determine the most appropriate location and methodology for the relocation of remains.

The relocation of remains is proposed to take place after development approvals, and after the Burial Management Plan has been finalised and agreed with key stakeholders.

Former Bylong Upper Public School

The New South Wales Department of Education (DoE) placed the Bylong Upper Public School in recess in December 2014 due to no enrolments for 2015 and a progressive decline in student numbers over several years. After investigating the feasibility of the school, DoE took the decision to close it in the second half of 2015.

The former Bylong school building is located within one of the Bylong Coal Project’s proposed open cut mining areas and will need to be removed if the Project is granted development consent.

In the years prior to the school's closure, KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) liaised with DoE regarding future options for the school, including support for the design, planning and reasonable funding for the relocation or reconstruction of school facilities at an alternative site. The relocation of the school was KEPCO’s preferred option.

The New South Wales Department of Education's decision to close the school was based on a trend of declining enrolment numbers since 2010 until none were received in 2015.

The Bylong Coal Project’s (the Project) Social Impact Assessment found that the construction and operation of the Project may increase the Bylong Valley’s population and attract more families to the area. This, in turn will likely increase the number of students attending local schools in the future. KEPCO Bylong Australia (KEPCO) will endeavour to enhance this benefit by allowing workers and their families to live on KEPCO-owned properties within the Bylong Valley.