none

COAL MINING THREATENS SYDNEY WATER CATCHMENT

14-09-2017
by 
in 
Heavy mining equipment extracts large quantities of material in longwall mining operations.

In a turn of events that some are calling "grave", coal mining that was approved without thorough groundwater quality assesment may be endangering the quality of Sydney's drinking water. 

An independent assesment ordered by the planning department has found ground upheval and cracks running from underground coal seams under Sydney's catchment area all the way to the surface. 

"Investigations at [a] site showed new cracks extended through to the ground surface and the permeability increases post-mining by one to three orders of magnitude", said the report. 

Concerns were initially raised in 2015, when reporting found that the water studies for the mine did not match proposed expansions. Critics called the mine "the most aggressive" ever attempted in NSW. 

"The Area 3B longwalls are the widest currently being extracted in the Special Areas, with what appears to be the largest extraction height ever used in the Special Areas - and among the largest extraction heights used anywhere in NSW," said Dr Peter Turner speaking on behalf of the National Parks Association (NPA) of NSW

Longwall mining, where large amounts of material are removed in continuous slices, requires a significant amount of assessment and planning to mitigate the potential environmental impacts. 

BHP, who owned the mine in 2013 when it was initially established, did not submit a completed groundwater impact study until March 2014. WaterNSW, the catchment authority, said it did not receive that report until October 2014.

The knock-on effects of bulging were not restricted to the mining site, with endangered swamplands up to 900m affected. 

Peter Turner, a spokesman for the National Parks Association, said the situation was "very dissapointing". 

He also noted Planning had withheld the Dendrobium reports from WaterNSW, the Office of Environment and Heritage and the community without explanation for months and was still holding back two other long promised reports.

"The two yet to be released reports provided the basis for the Department's December 2016 approval of two more longwall extractions at Dendrobium. Like the then new mining approved in February 2013, the recent mining was again approved without an appropriate groundwater impact assessment," Turner said.

He said it was "hard to imagine a clearer demonstration that the Department of Planning [who approved the mine] values the very limited returns from the coal beneath the Special Areas far more than the integrity of Sydney's primary public health asset, its drinking water catchment".

 

Related news & editorials

  1. Conymet Duratray
    08.04.2021
    08.04.2021
    by      In
    Cranbourne Victoria will become the centre for an internationally supported manufacturing facility that will create up to 100 new highly skilled jobs.
    Minister for Economic Development Tim Pallas welcomed the decision by Conymet Duratray International to grow its current Victorian footprint by... Read More
  2. Australian made logo
    07.04.2021
    07.04.2021
    by      In
    Calls for buyers to support local manufacturing by choosing Australian made goods have gained momentum with the announcement of an Australian Made Campaign Week (AMCL) for May this year.
    AMCL is encouraging shoppers to actively focus their purchases on genuine Australian made products, helping to... Read More
  3. globe
    06.04.2021
    06.04.2021
    by      In
    The ongoing demand for iron ore and growth in technology-related commodities such as lithium, nickel and copper are set to drive a recod $296 billion in export earnings for 2020-2021, according to latest reports.
    The Resources and Energy Quarterly from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy... Read More
  4. 06.04.2021
    06.04.2021
    by      In
    The school holidays are upon us, and the Australian Made Campaign wants shoppers to look for the iconic Australian Made logo on all their Easter holiday purchases.
    You can find the green and gold kangaroo on furniture, bakeware, gifts, camping equipment, toys, outdoor play equipment, and thousands... Read More
Products
Suppliers