THE Rocky Hill decision has been cited as precedent in arguments to refuse a bid to reopen the shuttered Dartbrook mine at Aberdeen.
In a submission on behalf of Friends of the Upper Hunter urging the Independent Planning Commission to refuse the application, the Environmental Defenders Office NSW argued the mine had many parallels to Gloucester's fight against the Rocky Hill proposal.
The February verdict on Rocky Hill was billed as "profoundly influential" after the mine was blocked on the basis its emissions would contribute to climate change.
"Our client submits that this judgement requires close scrutiny ... as a number of the circumstances of the Rocky Hill coal mine project and the modification are similar, particularly in relation to social and climate change impacts," the EDO's submission states.
"Accordingly, in our client's view, the IPC cannot be satisfied ... that the risks of the modification can be effectively mitigated by the conditions of any consent, such that approval of the [Dartbrook] modification is in the public interest."
Australian Pacific Coal says the reopened mine would employ 99 mineworkers, with 26 jobs created during the early construction process.
Its chief executive, John Robinson, was the first to address a public hearing on the project this week. Mr Robinson said stringent processes would ensure the operation was compliant and spruiked its effect on the area.
"The department's summary concluded the impacts of the development could be managed to achieve a satisfactory level of environmental performance," he said.
"The modification will rejuvenate a former operating mine to provide employment and direct and indirect benefits to the community."
Farmers Butch Smith and Grantly Blake were split on the industry's impact on their properties. Mr Smith said the mines hadn't had caused any significant issues on his property while Mr Blake told several horror stories about his altercations with them.
Former Greens' Upper Hunter state candidate and environmentalist Tony Lonergan questioned whether Dartbrook could be a "Trojan horse" for future expansions.