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Long wall mining blamed for Ousley cracks

The offending crack on Mt Ousley Road. PHOTO: Peter Turner.

CRACKS discovered in Mt Ousley Road have been blamed on  long wall coal mining operation.

The Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) have reportedly atttributed the subsidence from Gujarat NRE’s longwall 4, located 250m away.

Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining Inc (IRRM) spokesperson Kaye Osborn says the mine’s subsidence impacts appear to have been far greater than the Indian based mining company’s prediction. The IRRM claim the subsidence, due to longwall 4, is more than six times greater than predicted.

“The fact that GNRE’s mining of Longwall 4 has cracked Mt Ousley Road illustrates that the State government should urgently review the impacts of longwall mining beneath the Sydney Water Catchment Special Areas,” Ms Osborn said.

“A road can presumably be repaired, however the impacts on the water catchment area, including a number of upland swamps and the Cataract Creek which are all within the subsidence zone of Longwalls 4 and 5, can never be remediated.”

GNRE, based at Russell Vale, commenced longwall mining earlier this year in a contentious move which is currently subject to a legal challenge in the Land and Environment Court by IRRM.

Ms Osborn said the development is particularly problematic as it involves mining a third strata of coal – the Wongawilli Seam – located beneath two other heavily mined seams.  She said this extent of multi-seam mining has little precedent anywhere in the world; experts acknowledge that subsidence levels are difficult to predict.

Peter Turner, who discovered the cracking said, there should be no more risk taking in the special catchment areas.

“Water is far more important than coal,” he said.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

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