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Coal mine gets expansion approval

Wednesday 28th of December 2016 10:29:40 AM



The expansion of the most aggressive coal mine has been approved by the Baird government in special areas of Greater Sydney’s catchment, despite not knowing the compounding impact it will have on water supplies.

Approval was given at South32’s Dendrobium mine for two more 305 metre-wide longwalls, extracting coal from underneath the Metropolitan Special Area which was created to protect the waters of the Avon, Cataract, Cordeaux and Nepean reservoirs.

The company, which was spun out of BHP Billiton, hailed the go-ahead as securing as many as 400 jobs. The coking coal produced at the mine supplies a steel mine in nearby Wollongong and export markets.

The two new longwalls can only be cut to a height of 3.9 metres compared with the 4.6 metres permitted for the current five longwalls in a bid to reduce the disruption to surface and groundwater from expected subsidence.

Approval was granted despite South32 commissioning a report on groundwater impacts in 2012 – when it was seeking the go-ahead for the five excavation lines – but then declining to make the findings available even to the government.



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