More than three years after authorities started investigating whether Wollongong Coal is a "fit and proper person" to hold a mining licence, there's no update on any conclusion, or when it might come.
On Thursday, the NSW Planning Department would not say whether the investigation will be completed before it decides whether Wollongong Coal can expand its operations under the water catchment from Russell Vale.
The "fit and proper" issue has been being investigated since July 2016 by the Resources Regulator, an independent agency within the Planning department.
Wollongong Coal has this week lodged an updated proposal for its Russell Vale expansion, involving a reduction in the tonnage to be targeted, and the use of the less-invasive bord and pillar mining technique.
Environmental group Lock The Gate Australia (LTGA) this week said the investigation must be completed before the latest proposal was considered, given the high stakes of mining underground so close to water catchment areas.
In response to questions, the Regulator could not say when the investigation would be complete, or if any substantial outcome had been reached.
A spokeswoman would only say the investigation was "ongoing" - the same answer that has been given over the past three years.
"The Resources Regulator continues to assess whether the owner of Wollongong Coal is 'fit and proper' to continue to hold a mining lease in NSW," she said.
"The Regulator has also been investigating a number of compliance issues at the Wollongong Coal sites and has taken a range of enforcement actions, which resulted in a stop work order being issued earlier this year.
"As fit and proper inquiries are ongoing it is not appropriate to comment further."
Since the investigation started, Wollongong Coal has been suspended from trade on the ASX after questions were raised over whether its assets had been significantly overvalued. It remains suspended.
Its latest report listed liabilities of $1 billion, causing its auditors to raise questions about ongoing solvency.
It has been forced to close its Wongawilli mine for safety reasons, after prohibition notices from the Regulator after multiple roof falls.
It has been fined $30,000 on two occasions for discharge into Bellambi Creek.
In September 2016 Wollongong Coal said it "unequivocally" considered the fitness allegations "to be completely baseless".