PAC should reject dangerous longwall mining near Cataract Dam

MEDIA RELEASE – 29 October 2014

PAC should reject dangerous longwall mining near Cataract Dam

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson, Jeremy Buckingham called on the Planning Assessment Commission to heed the advice of the Sydney Catchment Authority and decide to reject the proposal by Wollongong Coal (formerly Gujurat NRE) to extend their longwall mining operations near Cataract Dam.

The Sydney Catchment Authority submitted to the PAC:

“In summary, the SCA considers that there are significant issues that need to be addressed. We object to the proposal as it currently stands, particularly with regard to its incursion into the Dam Safety Committee Notification Area surrounding Cataract Reservoir”

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said: “The PAC should reject this dangerous proposal and put the safety and health of Sydney’s water supply first and foremost.  It’s crazy to risk damaging Sydney and the Illawarra’s water supply for a few extra tonnes of coal.

“Longwall coal mining causes significant subsidence damage, which is particularly fraught where water resources are at stake.  The Cataract Dam is a multi-billion dollar asset that should not be put at risk for a few million dollars in coal royalties.

“Both the Office of Environment and Heritage, and the Environmental Protection Authority have expressed concerned that the piecemeal approach to planning approvals via modifications means the cumulative impact of coal mining in the water catchment  cannot be taken into account.

“Again I raise my concerns that the Department of Planning is so completely pro-mining that it is not providing critical assessments and advice to the PACs.  This is an issue that has been raised in recent PAC reports and is a matter that Minister Pru Goward must act on.

“The Greens object to longwall mining as an environmentally damaging practice and are particularly concerned about this type of mining under water courses and dams,” he said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 0419 444 916

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