Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) announced on Sept. 18 that its Bylong bituminous coal mine development project in Australia has been rejected by the relevant Australian evaluation committee.
According to KEPCO, the Independent Evaluation Committee of Australia turned down KEPCO's request for permission that day, saying that the development project in New South Wales is in violation of sustainable development principles and public interests and may result in groundwater contamination, more greenhouse gases, and problems related to farmland regeneration and the landscape of the region.
KEPCO acquired the mine from Anglo American for 419 billion won in 2010 and has invested a total of US$700 million in the project so far. The investment was to stably supply coal to the coal-fired power stations of KEPCO’s five power generation subsidiaries by developing the coal mine on its own. However, the plan is likely to be thwarted with the request turned down.
KEPCO is examining various possible solutions, including sale of the mine, litigation, and a re-request based on a new development plan. KEPCO recently posted an operating loss of hundreds of billions of won and the loss can further increase due to the rejection of the request. The corporation said that additional losses can be prevented if it sells the land it bought for the development project.