The Hume Coal project should be rejected on economic grounds. It is a relatively small, high-cost, greenfields mine far from major markets. It is unlikely that it can be financially or economically viable as currently proposed. It is already imposing economic costs on the Southern Highlands community. Proceeding with the project, particularly with possible modifications to reduce operating costs, brings the risk of major impacts on groundwater, on which many local industries depend.
This submission should be read in conjunction with other Australia Institute research on coal and the Southern Highlands Economy:
- Economic assessment of the Hume Coal project (June 2016)
- For Hume the bell tolls: Local economic impacts of the Hume Coal project (May 2017)
The economic assessment in the EIS contains obvious errors and is non-transparent, with minimal information provided on the project’s costs and benefits. It suffers from many of the problems with optimism bias and insider views identified in academic literature on major project assessment. The project should be quickly rejected to remove the uncertainty it is creating for Southern Highlands businesses.