Mine licences extended for Latrobe Valley power plants

The Yallourn Power Station in the Latrobe Valley

The Victorian Government has extended mine licences of two of the Latrobe Valley’s major power plants.

EnergyAustralia’s licence for the Yallourn mine has been extended to 2051, and the AGL licence for the Loy Yang mine to 2065.

The extension does not allow for the mining of coal beyond the 2032 and 2048 deadlines already in place by the respective companies, instead it allows at least 17 years of responsible rehabilitation.

“These extensions support our energy security and provide certainty for workers and communities across Victoria,” Minister for Resources Tim Pallas said.

“The five-year notice period is longer than what the Commonwealth has sought through the Finkel Review and gives local workers and their families confidence to plan for the future.”

The mine extension is in line with the approved work plans and expected closure dates for the mines, which together currently provide more than 70 per cent of Victoria’s power generation.

“A five-year notification period in advance of closing these coal-fired generators is critical to the pipeline of new renewable power generation and an orderly transition to low emission energy,” Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said.

“A clear timeline for the end of brown coal generation in Victoria is essential in achieving our renewable energy targets of 40 per cent by 2025 and net-zero emissions by 2050.”

AGL Loy Yang general manager Steve Rieniets said the extension provided certainty for employees and time to properly rehabilitate the site following closure of the Loy Yang A power station no later than 2048.

“Although we are progressively rehabilitating, we estimate we would need a further 15 years after coal operations cease to conduct final rehabilitation,” he said.

Mr Rieniets said the mining licence extension aligned with the company’s support for an orderly transition to modern cleaner technologies such as renewables, as set out in AGL’s Greenhouse Gas Policy.

The Labor Government appointed Emeritus Professor Rae Mackay as the first Latrobe Valley Mine Rehabilitation Commissioner and provided $5 million in the Victorian Budget 2018/19 to support his vital work advising the government on the safe, stable and sustainable rehabilitation of mining sites in the Valley.

“Having adequate timeframes for mine rehabilitation, a minimum of 17 years for Loy Yang and Yallourn, will help planning and consultation with the local community regarding the future of these sites,” Professor Mackay said.