Australia-based gold producer and explorer Regis Resources has received the Independent Planning Commission of New South Wales (IPC) final approval for the McPhillamys gold project.

The final approval allows the company to start operations at the project, which is located in the mining region of Central Western NSW, about 250km west of Sydney.

It follows a process including a review of the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE)’s Assessment Report, submissions from stakeholders, and a public hearing held last month.

According to the company, the McPhillamys gold project has the potential for Blayney-Kings Plains district and its surrounding areas in Central Western NSW.

Also, it will work together with local communities, stakeholders, and companies to address the risks and concerns regarding the project and establish the gold mine.

Regis Resources managing director Jim Beyer said: “We are very pleased with the IPC’s final determination and can now move forward with our production ambitions at the McPhillamys Project.

“McPhillamys is one of Australia’s largest undeveloped open-pittable gold resources and underpins significant value potential for Regis.

“We anticipate a response on the Federal Section 10 application shortly and will now incorporate the approval conditions into the finalised feasibility study, complete the funding strategy for the project and expect to announce further developments late in 2023.”

In a separate development, farmers near Blayney in the NSW Central West have opposed the final approval of the McPhillamys gold project, as the project could affect local water supplies.

According to the Environmental Defenders Office (EDO), IPC approved the mine disregarding depleting groundwater, and deposit of hazardous waste at the headwaters of Belubula River.

EDO Special Counsel EMILY Long said: “We will closely examine the reasoning behind the commission’s approval and assist our client to consider their options.

“The environmental impacts of this proposal are severe, and, in our client’s view, the public interest called for the IPC to refuse the mine.”

“The project will leave a massive mine pit that will suck in groundwater for hundreds of years, water that should feed local springs and streams that flow into the beautiful Belubula River.

“The tailings dam will leave a toxic legacy that will need careful monitoring and maintenance for generations to come. The approval is very surprising and disappointing.”