A lack of approval for the Hume Coal Project from the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) is not the death knell for the mining proposal.
Hume Coal project manager Rod Doyle said the final decision on the project would be made by the Independent Planning Commission (IPC).
He said he was still hopeful of a "Blues' guernsey" for the project.
"The IPC is the decision maker, the consent authority, and it will make the final decision on this project based on facts and data," he said.
His comments follow the release of a report from the DPE recommending to the IPC, for the second time, that the project not be approved.
Mr Doyle was quick to point out that while he believed the report from the DPE was "very one-sided" there were a few "positive gems" buried within it.
"The DPE finally recognises that the water model is fit for purpose and also notes that the project has significant economic benefit," he said.
"It also recognises the extensive geological research and data.
"We own the licence for all the water we will use for the purpose of mining. We bought them on the open market and we have a right to use that water just like others have the right to use the water from bores they own.
"We recognise there will be some impact to other landowners with water bores as water will be drawn down to a lower point. It is the same if other landowners use the water from their bores.
"One of the design aspects of the mining project is that we would store and pump water back into the mining area to allow the aquifers to recharge more quickly.
Mr Doyle said Hume Coal would also enter 'make good' agreements with landowners to compensate them for any impacts to their ground water bores due to the mining operations.
However, he noted that the overarching message of the DPE report was negative.
"That's because they want to get a refusal," he said.
Mr Doyle said Hume Coal remained confident that the Highlands project would be "given a guernsey because we have a low environmental footprint."
He added that the IPC would look at the submission on its merits and would look at the facts.
The IPC will be required to hold another public hearing which Mr Doyle anticipated would be announced soon.
"I'm not sure when this will be or whether it will be online or in a hall," he said.
"It is important that people are given the opportunity to have a say.
"The IPC has said in the past the DPE response is just another submission."
Mr Doyle said Hume Coal would be taking every step to ensure the IPC recognised the merits of the proposed mining project.
He said they would also accept the final judgement which he expected would be handed down by late August or early September.
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