The United Wambo Open Cut Coal Mine Project is a proposal to expand and merge the existing Wambo and United coal mines in the Hunter Valley, NSW. This submission focuses mainly on the economic assessment included in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) of the proposal, Appendix 19 Economic Assessment, written by Deloitte Access Economics (Deloitte).
The economic assessment does not adequately consider the risks and costs of the projects, while overestimating its benefits. It is likely the project represents a loss of welfare for the NSW community rather than the substantial improvement claimed in the economic assessment. It should be rejected on this basis.
The wider context of climate policy and coal markets is not considered in the economic assessment. The Paris climate agreement which Australia is a party to requires that most coal needs to remain in the ground. Policies limiting new coal projects are in place in major coal producing countries China, Indonesia and the United States. Detailed economic modelling shows adopting a policy of not approving further coal expansions such as the United Wambo proposal would have a minimal economic impact on Australia and NSW and still see robust economic growth in the Hunter Valley.