After placing the mine on care-and-maintenance status last year, New South Wales-based Wollongong Coal is moving toward a restart of operations at the Wongawilli mine and adding 110 workers. The move comes just three weeks after the New South Wales Planning Assessment Commission (NSW PAC) gave a greenlight to a five-year extension of the operation’s mining license. It had been idled since late August 2014.
Officials told ABC News Australia that production should begin again early next year. “Wongawilli Colliery is an important asset for the company and a key part of our long-term strategy for extracting and exporting high-quality coking coal for the production of steel and generating local employment opportunities,” Operations Manager Rhys Brett said. “We will now begin preliminary planning and discussions with key stakeholders in the expectations that operations at Wongawilli will recommence in early 2016.”
The producer has signed a two-year deal with Australian contractor miner Delta SBD to manage the restart as well as offer technical, personnel and equipment assistance; the decision to be a contract-based workforce has reportedly been much to the chagrin of miners furloughed in the mine’s closure in 2014 as well as local legislators.