Rio loses appeal over Warkworth mine

Mining giant loses bid to overturn halt of Mount Thorley Warkworth mine extension.

Rio Tinto has lost its appeal against the land and environment court’s decision to halt expansion of its Warkworth coal mine.

The mining giant had appealed last year’s decision to overturn government approval of an extension to its Mount Thorley Warkworth mine in New South Wales.

The court of appeal today backed the original decision, dismissing Rio’s appeal.

In April 2013 the Bulga Progress Association made history by defeating a proposal by the company to extend its Mount Thorley Warkworth mine.

The global miner recently resubmitted a new plan for an extension at the mine, arguing that it did not have time to wait for the outcome of its appeal against the Land and Environment Court’s ruling.

It instead submitted a new application to extend the mine’s life until 2035.

The new package includes the donation of 1800ha of land towards a national park in the Upper Hunter Valley, which is near the Goulburn River National Park.

The new plan will be assessed under new government rules that make economic benefits of mining a primary consideration, meaning an appeal to the courts is unlikely this time.