THE stated economic benefits of the proposed extension of the Stratford coal mine near Gloucester had been significantly exaggerated, the Independent Planning Assessment Commission has found.
The commission’s review report says many of the claimed benefits of the project ‘‘had not been substantiated’.
Its assessment found the net production benefit to Australia was likely to be $23million, instead of the estimated $145-$174million claimed by the project’s proponent, Yancoal.
The commission also found that state royalties would only be about a third of the figure claimed and that jobs generated outside the mine site were ‘‘likely to be few’’
‘‘... the estimation of benefits and costs is based on modelling techniques that have been severely criticised by the courts, academics, public authorities and a major economic consulting firm,’’ the commission’s review report said.
Barrington-Gloucester-Stroud Preservation Alliance chairman Graeme Healy said the commission’s comments supported many of the concerns raised in the group’s response to the project’s environmental impact statement and public hearing.
‘‘We hope this is another step away from the practice whereby governments simply rubber stamp every mining proposal presented,’’ he said.
‘‘The subtext of this review is extremely critical of the performance of the Department of Planning which, until now, has simply regarded each coal resource as ‘significant’ and been willing to approve projects on the basis of wildly exaggerated benefits”.
The commission’s review recommends the implementation of a range of conditions relating to final voids, noise and dust and water pollution.
‘‘... if this occurs, and the relevant actions and or commitments are in place prior to submission of the project for determination, it ought to be possible to consider approval of the project subject to conditions, ’’ the report said.
Yancoal did not comment.