The Department of Planning and Environment released draft guidelines on Thursday which provides instructions on the economic assessment of the mining and coal seam gas projects in NSW against their environmental impacts. The guidelines are intended to ensure that the mining companies provide more consistent and detailed information in their Environmental Impact Statement.

“This will help the NSW Government and the public weigh up the economic, community and environmental impacts of mining proposals” a department spokesperson said. “The draft guidelines have a greater focus on the effects that a project may have on the local community, as well as the benefits and costs for the state more broadly.”

The pre-prepared spreadsheet containing a detailed and cost effective analysis of the companies’ claims, which is a part of an Environmental Impact Statement and would be checked by officials from the department.

The draft guidelines have been peer reviewed and the department has requested feedback from the Environment Protection Authority.

Liz Devlin, deputy secretary of the department’s growth and design program, said the guidelines will enable the government and also communities to apprehend the potential impact of new mines on the environment.

"It's a response to ensuring there's far more guidance given to proponents about the Government's expectations of what should be included in a cost benefit analysis and it's also in response to a desire to ensure the impacts are well understood not just at a NSW level but by local communities," the ABC quoted Devlin as saying.

According to her, the current process of the assessment of economic benefits new mines is not enough. A more robust and detailed submission by proponents and a higher standard of assessment is required.

The department has invited comments and submissions from industry, community groups as well as individuals until Nov. 24.

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