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State Significant Development


Dendrobium Mine Extension Project

Wollongong City

Current Status: Determination

Interact with the stages for their names

  1. SEARs
  2. Prepare EIS
  3. Exhibition
  4. Collate Submissions
  5. Response to Submissions
  6. Assessment
  7. Recommendation
  8. Determination

Proposed extension to the Dendrobium Coal Mine.
Link to the Independent Planning Commission's page for the Project…

Attachments & Resources

Request for SEARs (1)

SEARs (2)

EIS (47)

Response to Submissions (3)

Agency Advice (14)

Amendments (2)

Additional Information (12)

Recommendation (7)

Determination (3)

Approved Documents

There are no post approval documents available

Note: Only documents approved by the Department after November 2019 will be published above. Any documents approved before this time can be viewed on the Applicant's website.


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There are no inspections for this project.

Note: Only enforcements and inspections undertaken by the Department from March 2020 will be shown above.


Showing 1 - 20 of 775 submissions
Name Withheld
Figtree , New South Wales
Supporting submission for the Dendrobium Colliery Extension
Our national, state and local economy relies heavily on coal mining so coal mining benefits all Australians.

Coal is one of Australia’s and NSW’s most important and valuable exports.

Coking coal from coal mines in the southern coalfield, such as Dendrobium Colliery, has ideal qualities for steel production and it has fewer impurities, such as sulphur, than coal from other countries.

The continued employment of four hundred direct employees in the coal mine is at stake at Dendrobium Colliery.

The federal government’s tables of multiplier effects shows that more than three times as many indirect jobs are created for every person employed in a coal mine.
I quote a statement from former federal treasurer Mr Peter Costello who put the mining sector's poor public image down to the sector's pragmatic approach: "Miners tend to be practical people. They focus on getting things done and getting output. Their opponents are rhetorical people. They focus on stopping things getting done."
Australia and NSW need to focus on the positive aspects of coal mining and its many benefits so as not be distracted by ideologically driven anti-mining activists. We should all be proud of what coal mining is doing for NSW and Australia.
The report submitted by Dendrobium demonstrates its comprehensive coverage of all environmental issues. The benefits from the continuation of this coal mine are immense.

For all of these reasons I fully support the extension of Dendrobium Colliery.
Ted Booth
WOLLONGONG , New South Wales
The current proposal is a major threat to the water security to the Illawarra and southern Sydney.

The long history of mining under catchment in the Illawarra and Southern Highlands is disgraceful. Despite self-regulated compliance strategies on the part of a succession of coal mining companies in the region swamps on the highlands have effectively drained over the last 10 years and streams in the Darkes Forest area which run west into the catchment no longer run!

Climate change does not account for the major loss of surface water in these two quite different environments.

A number of technical studies have demonstrated these outcomes from underground longwall mining. Rectivation work by the respective coal companies has been piecemeal and ineffective!

As a bushwalker and mountain biker, we are prohibited to enter catchment just in case we poo! I would suggest the "pooing" has already commenced at lower levels of the environment in all the Sydney Catchment areas.

Our water resources are of greater value to a wider population for 30 years than the profits to BHP as South 32.

Despite "threats" on local radio by mine management that it will be the demise of steel making in the Illawarra if the company doesn't get its approval to mine under catchment. I'm sure they have a plan B and the resources to source their coking coal elsewhere.

Sure, there is a short term employment impact.

Newcastle has thrived after a planned adjustment strategy.

I'm confident this submission passes the pub test, except perhaps at the Mount Kembla watering hole!

Ted Booth
Greens Northern Beaches
AVALON BEACH , New South Wales
Northern Beaches Greens want a moratorium on new mines and expansions of existing mines to be implemented immediately to protect Sydney’s water. Mining causes permanent damage to water catchments.
Research by Sydney Water shows catchment levels across 11 dams in Greater Sydney are dropping faster than they have in decades. In the past two years, levels have dropped from a combined capacity of 96% to just under 55%, falling by around 0.4% a week.
In a 2014 report on mining in the catchment, the NSW Chief Scientist found Sydney was alone among major cities to permit such activities. This report also concluded that it impossible to thoroughly assess the cumulative impact of mining on water in the catchment and how much is really being lost, due to lack of pre-mining data, limited monitoring, and inadequate catchment and reservoir water-balance modelling.

WaterNSW noted mining-related surface water losses at Dendrobium were 1.28 billion litres a year. One previously permanent water course is now dry for 1.7 kilometres or 90% of its length, causing “complete aquatic habitat loss”. Species affected include the vulnerable Littlejohn’s tree frog. WaterNSW estimates its cracking costs the catchments 1.28 billion litres of water yearly.
These millions of litres of water being lost daily and the environmental impacts are breaching approval consent conditions, including performance criteria to protect watercourses and the quality of Sydney’s drinking water catchment.
With climate change and drought conditions set to continue, households, industries and businesses are making serious efforts to reduce their water use. Meanwhile the big coal miners are consuming enormous amounts, tunnelling under our precious catchment, causing subsidence and cracking.
A recent investigation of the Eastern Tributary which supplies Woronora Reservoir, discovered stagnant and highly discoloured pools, polluted with iron and manganese. Even more concerning were elements of zinc and nickel, which are toxic to aquatic life.

Ian Wright, a freshwater ecologist at Western Sydney University, said water emerging from fresh cracks "mobilises so many elements in the periodic table". Nearby areas he has studied are "pulsating with life [and] highly diverse", unlike what he found this week. This environmental impact breaches approvals.

"It's troubling that monitoring and modelling inadequacies will make it difficult or impossible to detect slow but nonetheless significant leakage from the reservoir - into groundwater flows that leave the catchment - once mining under Woronora Reservoir starts," according to Dr Peter Turner, mining projects science officer for the National Parks Association. The measurement of mining impacts remains inadequate.
It is essential that extra monitoring and analysis must occur, paid for by mining companies, in order to establish accurate estimates on how much water was being lost to reservoirs through the cracks caused by subsidence after the coal is extracted.
Due to the significant number of unquantifiable underground factors, the insanity of risking Sydney’s water quality, especially in consideration of climate change impacts, Northern Beaches Greens urge the NSW government to plan an exit from all coal mining under our water catchment.
Name Withheld
SUTTON FOREST , New South Wales
I strongly support the continuation of underground mining activities at Dendrobium underground mine in the Illawarra region of NSW. The mine currently employs hundreds of people, all of whom earn a substantial wage for really tough and arduous work. These honourable men and women go to work each day, many spending tens of hours each week in the darkness hundreds of metres below the surface cutting coal for the production of steel. The money they earn pays for haircuts, school fees, new cars and homes in our new estates. This contributes to the economic success of our whole region. Whilst this is no different to any other industry where local people work, live and spend, mining generally pays higher wages meaning fewer jobs have an equal or higher local economic contribution than jobs generated by other local industries.
Importantly, mining contributes the economic diversity of the Illawarra. Whilst mining and manufacturing are not the dominant industries of the Illawarra they once were, they play an important role in keeping our economy diverse. This ensures that if an industry or sector (e.g. real estate, retail, tourism, mining, agriculture, etc) is to experience a downturn, the region is better positioned to 'weather the storm' should it not be so heavily dependent on one particular industry or sector.
Local coal also contributes to the economic viability of our local steelmaking facilities. The Port Kembla steelworks has had a tough few years in the past, and has restructured and remerged as a successful steelmaking business. To jeopardise this hard work through the removal of its local coal supply, the economic success over the past recent years (let alone the economic success since the 1920's) would be a real shame and generate a huge shock to the Illawarra region. The economic and social ramifications would be felt for decades.
Coal mining, especially coking coal for steelmaking, is an important industry for the Illawarra and NSW. I continue to support these operations at Dendrobium mine because I strongly believe that steel use per capita is the hallmark of an advanced economy and there is no viable alternative to the use of coal for the production of blast furnace steel.
A strong and prosperous Illawarra is an Illawarra with strong mining, manufacturing, tourism, real estate, retail, hospitality and agriculture industries.
Name Withheld
CAMERON PARK , New South Wales
This project is to provide continued supply of coking coal. Coking coal is required to make steel. Steel is essentail to modern life. Steel is used to make wind turbines, solar cell frames, hydroelectric turbines etc. Steel is also essential in the manufacture of electric cars, buses and trains. Steel is also use to make bicycles, prams, walkers etc. Rejection of this proposal will significantly impact on the quality of life of the residents of NSW through reduced steel supplies and the large negative impact on the economy. This project should proceed for the benefit of all citizens.
Name Withheld
WARILLA , New South Wales
I support the Dendrobium mine expansion project as it will ensure steel making coal is continued to be mined in the Illawarra, which is critical to the ongoing success of BlueScope and industry in the Illawarra. The ongoing benefits of this project to the Illawarra region is significant, not only to the personnel employed by Illawarra Coal but all personnel who work for contractors and local business for Illawarra Coal and BlueScope Steel, which could be in excess of 10,000 jobs. The closure of Illawarra Coal and / or the Steelworks would significantly affect the region, local communities and local businesses.
I believe that there needs to be a balance between sustaining on-going industry, mining and steelmaking in the Illawarra and the environment. It is important to note that the coal is primarily used for steelmaking and is not thermal coal, burnt for power generation.
Illawarra Coal have been mining in the Sydney water catchment for over 85 years, and I believe they have the right management practices in place to ensure safe mining minimising impact on the environment, i.e. setbacks from water courses, etc.
Name Withheld
Westmead , New South Wales
Dear Sir/Madam,
I object to the extension of this mine. Being a long wall mine, it poses significant threat to surrounding water catchment. This has been detailed by Water NSW. Furthermore it has the potential to reduce water in upland swamp areas, affecting local fauna. The potential threats to water catchment and local ecosystems make this proposal unacceptable.
EASTERN CREEK , New South Wales
Dear Jessie,

TransGrid Reference Number: 2019-337

Proposal: Notification of Exhibition of Dendrobium Mine Extension project (SSD 8194)

TransGrid: Transmission Line 11 Dapto 330kV – Sydney South 33kV Structures: 31 – 42

Thank you for referring the above mentioned Development Application to TransGrid for review.

Please be advised after reviewing the proposed works at Notification of Exhibition of Dendrobium Mine Extension project (SSD 8194)

TransGrid makes the following comment:

The proposal is for new long wall mining beneath TL 17 as detailed on page 11 of the 24B appendix attachment:

1. Subsidence caused by the mining operation will require substantial modification to the tower footings and possibly the conductor attachments.

2. The proponent is required to engage TransGrid (Modification Enquiry at via a formal agreement to review and mitigate the impact of the long wall mining on TransGrid’s assets which will include a detailed feasibility assessment and potentially foundation retrofitting.
Name Withheld
WATTLE PONDS , New South Wales
I support the Dendrobium Project, I use to work there years ago and couldn't get full time work due to approval uncertainty, had to move to get work. I don't want this to happen to anyone else.
Ryan Young
I support this project to enable to continuity of high quality Illawarra Metallurgical Coal to support the Port Kembla Steel works. Dendrobium Mine are a highly community focused operation with many examples of significant funds being spent to improve the Mt Kembla Village community and the Illawarra. The mine is responsible in their mine planning and have adequate buffers in place around sensitive surface features in the water catchment.

The local investment, direct jobs and indirect jobs to support the mine are a major benefit to not only Wollongong but the economy on a whole.

There has been active mining in the Illawarra since the 1800s, this and the steel works are the back bone of the Illawarra.
Name Withheld
THIRROUL , New South Wales
I support the project as it maintains direct and indirect employment of a significant number people in the Illawarra Region.
Phillip Enderby
SPEERS POINT , New South Wales
I support this project.
Name Withheld
MOUNT OUSLEY , New South Wales
I am in support of this project for the following reasons
I believe that this project is key to supporting the ongoing operation of a number of key industries within the Illawarra, NSW & Australia. The mining of metallurgical coal for use in steel making is fundamental within modern industrial landscape. These operations carried out in the Illawarra area are among the most environmentally responsible anywhere in the world. If the continued operation of dendrobium mine is not allowed to proceed then the demand for steel within Australia will be met by foreign markets such as China and India where environmental standards are much lower with the additional environmental impact of international transport to bring the products into Australia.

I believe the environmental, community, and economic benefits of sustaining these key local industries far outweighs the impacts of the mines operations. The impact on groundwater within the catchment area is small in the scale of the total catchment volumes and throughput, and combined with south 32's efforts to find beneficial uses of water generated/captured within the mine, the overall impact on the community will negligible.
The controls set in place with regard to restricting longwall operations to keep them away from key features within the catchment area are an important part of the submission and ensure the protection of the catchment and the natural landscape, flora and fauna.
Lachlan Cunningham
KIAMA , New South Wales
The project is critically important for both the region and Australia in a macro context. The Dendrobium extension will ensure Australia has a robust and quality steel making capability. If this capability is diminished, or extinguished through environmental opposition, them it would strategically disadvantage Australias ability to produce steel domestically. In uncertain times this ability is as vital as having domestice energy sources of fuel, gas etc.
The impacts on water loss are minimal compared to controllable losses elsewhere in the system, such as system leakage, which is never mentioned by Water NSW. The distribution system losses are 'low hanging fruit' when considering mitigating water losses. The numbers from each source are well documented in various studies.
So, in summary, the benefits of the Dendrobium extension are far greater than just those to the local economy, or even State, but are of strategic benefit to the nation.

Thank you
Lachlan Cunningham
Name Withheld
TERRIGAL , New South Wales
I was a major participant in the initial building of the Dendrobium Mine via the coal clearance systems underground and through the Kemira Valley loadout area and fully respect the environmental sensitivity and concerns local residents key players displayed at the time. This extension Project represents a continuation of mining in the Illawarra providing high quality and vital metallurgical coal to BlueScope Steelworks at Port Kembla, also supporting NSW regional manufacturing industries and significantly supporting the Illawarra and NSW economies. South32 have put forward a very exhaustive environmental assessment review and mitigation plan for all known project outcomes as was the case back in 2002. The Illawarra region has benefited greatly from coal mining activities as a whole and that can not be denied from a financial and regional development perspective. The proposed new extension project and extraction of coal from Dendrobium Project Areas 5 and 6 would naturally be integrated with the extraction of coal from the already approved Dendrobium Mine Areas 3B and 3C. Most importantly this would avoid a discontinuity in mining at the Dendrobium Mine and avoid job losses/unemployment that would result from such a discontinuity. Job losses would not only be relevant to the mine but would resonate down the line to Pt Kembla Coal Terminal, BlueScope Steel and the extensive industry support network within the Illawarra and NSW regions.
Ryan Crasta
BALGOWNIE , New South Wales
Supporting wollongong jobs
Alex Pauza
KEIRAVILLE , New South Wales
This project is vital for the Illawarra and must go ahead.

I grew up 900m away from the Kemira pit top and experienced no ill-effects of the mine - ever. It was a benign and beneficial operation that provided vital economic benefit to the local area. Dendrobium is no different.

I have worked at Dendrobium while I lived in Mount Kembla. From the mine - I never heard a peep, despite living less than 600m from the pit top.

This operation forms part of the Southern Coalfield Critical Coalmiming Industry Cluster. Each current and proposed coalmine in the Southern Coalfield is intrinsically linked to the economic viability of PKCT, and Bluescope. This operation in particular is critical to the economy of the Illawarra. It supports innumerable small and large businesses, as well as bringing vital highly paid jobs to the region. It must be supported.

Should the catchment authority have concerns over groundwater, they must be compelled to tell the truth over water use from Dendrobium. The mine water from Dendrobium finds a beneficial use at the Bluescope works. A reduction in supply from Dendrobium presumably requires a corresponding increase in demand on the drinking water supply. Furthermore, there is no reason why the inflows to the mine could not find other beneficial uses - for example this water could - with minimal treatment - incorporated into the Illawarra's drinking water supply. The IPC must also be wary of any pricing assumptions used by the catchment authority. Bulk wholesale untreated ground water does not have the same economic value as treated drinking water. We have seen this lie perpetrated by the SCA in their submission on Russell Vale. How they got away with this blatant falsehood is unknown.
Name Withheld
FLINDERS , New South Wales
I support this extension as it would retain current employment, and possibly create additional jobs, for locals across the coal, steel, shipping and transport industries.
Christopher Smith
SINGLETON , New South Wales
I support South32 and the continued operation of Dendrobium Mine Extension Project as the project provides revenue to the State of NSW and jobs for the people of the Illawarra region. High quality coal deposits are NSW's competitive advantage and the project proposes to continue mining coal to provide much needed revenue for NSW treasury and export income for the ASX listed South32 company. Most importantly it provides hundreds of direct and indirect jobs to regional NSW. Employment is a precious and increasingly scarce commodity in regional NSW and the project deserves the support of the NSW Dept of Planning by way of a project approval.
Name Withheld
WILTON , New South Wales
This project will help the Illawarra and state economy. Hundreds of jobs will be created and maintained and high quality steel making coal will continue to be supplied to Bluescope steel and international buyers which will maintain our international trades.


Project Details

Application Number
EPBC ID Number
Assessment Type
State Significant Development
Development Type
Coal Mining
Local Government Areas
Wollongong City
Determination Date

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