Russell Vale Colliery expansion plans


Wollongong Coal propose to mine within 20m of the Cataract Dam claim the Greens.

THE Greens have vowed to fight the proposed Russell Vale Mine expansion, after Wollongong Coal held a little-advertised consultation in Corrimal late last month, Illawarra Greens spokesperson and mayoral candidate Mithra Cox said.

Wollongong Coal plan to expand underground mining from its Russell Vale colliery has been held up by the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) over concerns about the impact on the drinking water catchment.

The PAC required more information to show subsidence from mining would not cause serious damage to swamps and creeks on top of the escarpment, with the worst-case scenario being that the catchment could drain into the mine.

After unsuccessfully fighting the PAC ruling in court, Wollongong Coal said it will work to counter concerns about the environmental impact proceeding with bord-and-pillar mining rather than the more invasive longwall method.

Ms Cox said Wollongong Coal latest mine proposal includes 32 coal trucks per hour on local streets – going down Bellambi Lane and Memorial Drive past people’s homes from 7am to 10pm.

“The mining company has done nothing to prevent another disaster where the coal wash turns Bellambi creek black whenever there is heavy rain,” she said.

“The company has already had its plans knocked back to expand their mine by the Planning and Assessment Commission because they were mining under the Sydney water catchment.

“This latest proposal, while a slightly modified proposal, still mines within 20m of the Cataract Dam – which is part of the water catchment for 5 million people.

“All of the coal will be exported, and the company doesn’t even seem to know whether it will be used as coking coal or thermal coal.

“The age of coal is over. Wollongong Coal needs to pay its debts to our community and move on,” Ms Cox said.

About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and 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 Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been 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 Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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