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Push for new, bigger coal mines labelled 'climate bomb'

NSW will consider allowing eight new coal mines and expansions this year with the potential to produce millions of tonnes of green house gas emissions once the coal is burnt, according to advocacy group Lock The Gate.

The largest of the expansions under consideration is the jointly-owned Glencore and Yancoal open cut mine in the NSW Upper Hunter Valley, 24km north-west of Singleton.

If granted permission to continue mining operations until 2050, the project could be responsible for 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions, doubling current direct output.

Lock the Gate Alliance NSW coordinator Nic Clyde said the government's strategy for approving new coal mining projects had fatally undermined its emissions targets.

"NSW is now staring down the barrel of the biggest climate bomb from coal mine expansions since the Paris Agreement - putting our future at risk," Mr Clyde said.

"When every other sector in the NSW economy is doing their bit to start reducing emissions to address climate change, the coal and gas sector is running in the opposite direction."

All new mining proposals and expansions were assessed against the government's target to reduce emissions by 70 per cent by 2035, as well as impact on the surrounding environment and community, a spokeswoman for the Department of Planning and Environment said.

"This comprehensive assessment considers government policy, community feedback and advice from government agencies, as well as independent experts as required," the spokeswoman said.

According to a spokeswoman for Planning Minister Anthony Roberts, NSW was on track to halve emissions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

A Labor spokesman said the party supported the NSW Independent Planning Commission deciding on significant development applications in cases including when there is considerable community opposition.

"There is an independent process to assess all resources proposals, which we support," the spokesman said.

Greens MP Sue Higginson said it was "beyond comprehension" for NSW to be approving coal mine expansions when all major parties have a net zero target for emissions.

"Labor and the Liberals do not consider the emissions of coal that has been exported for burning overseas, rather they only consider the direct emissions of coal that is mined and burned domestically," she said.

"It is a dangerous perspective when we consider that carbon dioxide emitted by Indian power plants that are burning Australian coal are still contributing to the climate crisis."