Victorian resources minister: Engie to pay for Hazelwood closure

Hazelwood power station (Green Left Weekly)

The Victorian resources minister Wade Noonan said that all rehabilitation costs for the closure of the Hazelwood mine would be borne by the owner, Engie, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. 

The report stated that the closure of the Hazelwood coal plant will be costing over $750 million, according to Engie documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. The new figure is half a billion more than the original company estimate.

“This is about protecting Victoria’s interests. It’s our expectation that the full cost of rehabilitating Hazelwood will be borne by Engie, and not the state,” Mr Noonan said.

Additionally, he mentioned that the government has engaged experts to complete an independent assessment of each of the Latrobe Valley coal mines by March 2017 which will determine if there is a need to implement further rehabilitation bonds.

At Engie’s end, the company has already committed to restoring the site using its funds. A statement from the Engie said that specialist consultants will advise on the closure of the mine.

“As Hazelwood is the first mine in Australia of this type and size to be rehabilitated, specialist external consultants will continue to be required to advise on geotechnical, environmental and hydrogeological matters to allow for … a safe, stable and sustainable site after closure,” the statement said.

In November last year, 750 workers found out that they would be made redundant when the plant is closed. This figure includes 450 direct employees. However, about 230 staff will be needed until 2018 to help decommission the plant.