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State Significant Infrastructure


Dendrobium Mine Extension Project

Wollongong City, Wingecarribee Shire, Wollondilly Shire

Current Status: Withdrawn

Proposed extension of mining within Area 5 and extension of the life of Dendrobium Mine until 2041.

Attachments & Resources

Notice of Exhibition (2)

Notice of Exhibition_04052022_075723
Proponent's Public Notice

Application (1)

Scoping Report

SEARs (5)

Issued SEARs Cover Letter_23/12/2021
Issued SEARs_23/12/2021
Issued SEARs Attachment 2 - Agency Advice_23/12/2021
Amended SEARs_Att 3_Commonwealth Requirements_25/01/2022
Amended SEARs - Clarification_8/03/2022

EIS (46)

EIS Executive Summary
EIS Table of Contents
EIS Section 1 - Introduction
EIS Section 2 - Strategic Context
EIS Section 3 - Approved Operations
EIS Section 4 - Project Description
EIS Section 5 - Statutory Context
EIS Section 6 - Engagement
EIS Section 7 - Environmental Assessment
EIS Section 8 - Justification of the Project
EIS Section 9 - References
EIS Section 10 - Abbreviations, Acronyms, Glossary
EIS Attachment 1 - SEARs
EIS Att 2 - Reference to Assessment Requirements
EIS Att 3 - Infrastructure Application Area
EIS Att 4 - Land Ownership and Landholder Key
EIS Att 5 - Peer Review Letters
EIS Att 6 - Relevant Strategic Planning Documents
EIS Att 7 - Considerations of EPIs
EIS Att 8 - Aquifer Interference & Water Licensing
EIS Att 9 - Rehabilitation and Mine Closure
EIS Att 10 - Summary of Mitigation Measures
EIS Att 11 - Consideration of Alternatives
EIS Att 12 - IPC and Agency Issues Reconciliation
EIS Att 13 - Capital Investment Value Report
EIS Att 14 - Community Information
EIS Att 15 - Coal Resource and Reserve Statement
Appendix A - Subsidence Assessment
Appendix B - Groundwater Assessment
Appendix C - Surface Water Assessment
Appendix D - Biodiversity Report (BDAR)
Appendix E - Aquatic Ecology Assessment
Appendix F - Aboriginal Heritage Assessment
Appendix G - Historical Heritage Assessment
Appendix H - Road Transport Assessment
Appendix I - Air Quality and GHG Assessment
Appendix J - Noise and Blasting Assessment
Appendix K - Social Impact Assessment
Appendix L - Economic Assessment
Appendix M - Environmental Risk Assessment
Appendix N - Preliminary Hazard Analysis
Appendix O - Land Contamination Assessment
Appendix P - Geological Structure Review
Appendix Q - Mine Closure Study
Appendix R - Greenhouse Gas Report
Appendix S - Geotechnical Assessment

Response to Submissions (1)

Request for RTS

Agency Advice (23)

Crown Lands - EIS
Fire & Rescue - EIS
Port Authority - EIS
Subsidence Advisory NSW - EIS
DPI Fisheries - EIS
NSW Health - EIS
TfNSW - Rail - EIS
DPE Water - EIS
Mining Exploration & Geoscience - EIS
Resources Regulator - EIS
Heritage NSW - Aboriginal Cultural Heritage - EIS
Heritage NSW - EIS
BCD - EIS Part 1 of 2
BCD - EIS Part 2 of 2
BCD - Additional advice - EIS
Dam Safety NSW - EIS
Net Zero Team - EIS
Transgrid - EIS
WaterNSW - EIS

Additional Information (2)

RFI - GHG, Economics, Bushfire & Setbacks (June 2022)
RFI - Water, disturbance area & employment (July 2022)


Showing 1 - 20 of 514 submissions
Wollongong City Council
WOLLONGONG , New South Wales
Wollondilly Shire Council
PICTON , New South Wales
Adrienne Shilling
PETERSHAM , New South Wales
Annie Marlow
Berkeley , New South Wales
Name Withheld
Mittagong , New South Wales
I am very concerned about, and strongly object to, the Dendrobium Mine Extension project for the following reasons:
* the risk that the mine will cause damage toSydney’s and Wollongong’s drinking water catchment, as well as resulting in the increased loss of millions of litres of water each day and in e deterioration of water quality due to leaching of metals into the water.
*damage to Aboriginal cultural heritage, impact on koalas and their habitat, as well as on the Aquatic ecosystems and upland swamps.
For these and other reasons, I am urging the NSW Government to reject the application for the Dendrobium Mine Extension project. I am appalled and deeply concerned that the NSW Government may be considering giving approval to a project that is NOT in the best interests of the citizens of NSW or the health of the environment.
Barbara McKendry
Name Withheld
PETERSHAM , New South Wales
The proposed extension of Dendrobium mine should be rejected. The temporary and relatively minor benefits are significantly outweighed by the permanent ongoing environmental impacts of the proposal.

Underground mining will cause unacceptable and permanent impacts, including loss of surface water in a drinking water catchment, disturbance of 20ha of native vegetation, loss of numerous endangered swamps, loss of geological features, and potential impacts to Aboriginal sites, in addition to climate impacts.

These permanent impacts will persist for generations to come, long after the benefits cease, and long after offsets for environmental impacts will realistically be provided by the owner of Dendrobium mine. When intergenerational equity is considered, the only option is to reject the proposal.
Kara Perrow
KEMBLA HEIGHTS , New South Wales
please see letter attached
Emma Rogers
EAST CORRIMAL , New South Wales
To whomever this may concern,
As a water drinker living in the Illawarra, as a conservation biology student, as someone who cares about Indigenous cultural heritage and the future of our planet and local ecosystems, I strongly object to the proposed expansion of the Dendrobium Mine.
It is clear to me that the negative impacts of this mine and the proposed expansion goes far beyond any public gain the company has tried to explain. The jobs they provide will be short term, they are not needed by Blue Steel which already sources coal from elsewhere and is looking to transition to renewable steel production, and so the expansion of a private corporation with major detrimental impacts to endangered swamp ecosystems, koala habitat, and significant Indigenous cultural heritage all whilst locking out Indigenous People, the public and scientists seems like an abomination to me. The true impacts of this mine on water quality are not properly addressed in the environmental impacts report- their controls are outdated and with the extreme weather events we have had and will continue to have with climate change, the mine will not only contribute to local damage if the contaminants flood into water systems, but also global damage with the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it will produce. Sydney is the only city in the world that allows long wall mining under drinking water catchments. The risks to our drinking water cannot be fixed with more water processing- it will not be the same. And to cause local extinctions in the endangered swamp habitat that is in the area the mine will extend to goes against federal and state legislation, if not only moral right.
I am a conservation biology student and therefore care deeply about these local ecosystems. I also drink water and care about waterways and systems and how we treat them. I strongly object to the expansion of the Dendrobium mine. Please, do the right thing and reject it.

Thank you,
Emma Rogers
Tom Kristensen
MAIANBAR , New South Wales
Submission on the second application to extend mining on the Dendrobium Lease

I object to the SSI application to mine Area 5, for the same reasons I previously objected to the SSD application to mine Areas 5&6.

I’m an active member of the Maianbar Rural Fire Service and a keen bushwalker. As a resident of Maianbar I live inside the Royal National Park and take a vital interest in the ecology of natural areas. I have spent the last year surveying the koala population of Heathcote National Park. I’m concerned that coalmining companies given access to our Special Areas have little interest in koalas let alone the wider ecology of natural areas, as evidenced by the cursory treatment given in the EIS and the Biodiversity Assessment Report. It is obvious to me that subsidence cracking will rob surface water leading to drying of the soil, increasing fire risk and driving biodiversity threats.

I understand that resource companies exist for one purpose, to make money for shareholders through extraction, but it is the responsibility of government to balance the wider public interest in granting access to destructive industries. It falls to government to fairly assess both the costs and the benefits of extraction. I make this submission in the hope that WaterNSW, the IPC, the ecologists working within NPWS and BC&S division of DPE, and the independent experts who all sought to protect the Special Areas in the first round will be heard in rejecting this second application.

Illawarra Coal Holdings seeks to challenge the NSW government as represented by the IPC in the LEC, at issue is the authority of the IPC to refuse consent to the previous mining proposal put forward by South32. Regardless of the right of the miner to challenge the IPC, I find it dismaying that the government seems happy to discard the IPC and move the legal goal posts by switching to the abstraction of State Significant Infrastructure.

Giving a coalmine the status of infrastructure that outweighs the value of the water catchment is an absurdity. It is not only the catchment that is sacrificed here; the assessment process has been trashed.

The shift from SSD to SSI was initiated on the floor of parliament and sanctioned by both sides; DPE cannot be blamed for enacting the will of politicians. However, the greed and corruption indulged by past representatives happy to dip into mining profits was reason to establish the IPC, sadly that lesson from history now seems forgotten. The least bad option here would be to allow the IPC panel to revisit the issues and decide whether the second proposal represents a real improvement on the first.

Tom Kristensen
22 Cullen Lane Maianbar
Shirley Gladding
FAIRY MEADOW , New South Wales
I object to the Dendrobium Mine Extension Project SSI-33143123.
Firstly, I am concerned about the assessment process being applied to this particular project. With the initial project having been rejected by the IPC, I fail to understand how this revised smaller project has been declared State Significant Infrastructure. This is the first time, I understand, that this status has been applied to a coal mine in NSW, on the basis of its importance to BlueScope and consequently making the Minister for Planning, Anthony Roberts, the approval authority. However, reliance on future coal from Dendrobium by BlueScope is unclear. Furthermore, FOI documents released recently and presented to the ABC, raise concern, revealing Dept of Planning staff advising South32 to emphasise their reliance on this project getting approved. This surely is most inappropriate, challenging the independence of the Dept of Planning in the assessment process.
Regarding ongoing supply of coal to BlueScope, the steel works seem genuinely keen to move towards green steel, taking positive steps including their MOU with Rio Tinto regarding the use of green hydrogen and considering biochar as a substitute for pulverised coal. A recent visit to an open day at the steel works gave me the impression the company is sincere about making this transition. Meanwhile, facilities at Port Kembla wharves have been carried out, which now gives BlueScope the opportunity to import coal from elsewhere, should the need arise.
Being part of the Greater Sydney Water Catchments, this mine encroaches on part of a sophisticated, extraordinary system that supplies water to around 5 million people and its protection has never been more necessary than now, as we face the likely increased ravages of climate change. The southern catchment usually supplies up to 30% of Greater Sydney’s water and the Avon Reservoir is the only source of water to 310,000 people and businesses in the Illawarra. This new proposal still comes within 1000m of the Avon Reservoir. If this project goes ahead, inevitable subsidence will affect both quality and quantity of water, in addition to accumulative impacts already happening. I also fail to understand how offsets to compensate for impacts, including on upland swamps that may be affected, can work. Once a swamp is damaged, it stops doing its vital job, full stop! The proposed agreement in the EIS to allow the Minister for Water to spend agreed cash offsets, to compensate quantity and quality impacts during and post mining on other water projects, hardly justifies the impacts on this very precious system.
Regarding emissions, the EIS states that ‘an indirect adverse impact of this Project is the potential for Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions of the Project, and Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions (i.e. customer greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of Project product metallurgic coal) to contribute to adverse climate change effects.’ (ES-4) Whilst the EIS states that South 32 has set a group-level medium-term target to halve its operational Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 2035(ES-5), area 5 is apparently particularly high in gas and I believe likely emission levels to be of serious concern.
Regarding the Aboriginal Heritage Sites potentially at risk, I was shocked to discover recently that local Elders had not been able to visit the sites for many years. I understand too that cultural values are not limited to specific sites but to the whole land. I believe real considerations of these values should be honoured.
I am concerned about protection of koalas living in this area. Koalas are territorial and I don’t understand how they can be safeguarded if they are disturbed. No offsets can protect them. As they are now declared endangered in NSW we have increased responsibility to protect them and the ecosystems that support them.
With climate change definitely happening now, we are aware that we are likely to see more record-breaking droughts, fires and floods. We must therefore do all we can to help combat this by protecting our environment in every way possible. Surely the time has come to say no new mining in the drinking water catchments.
I therefore object to this project.
Shirley Gladding
Fairy Meadow 2519
Name Withheld
PETERSHAM , New South Wales
The proposed extension of Dendrobium mine should be rejected, as the modest temporary benefits (including relatively modest employment for just 10 years) do not outweigh the numerous permanent and unacceptably high environmental impacts and potential heritage impacts. Additionally, the justification of securing coal supply for Port Kembla Steelworks is weak - there are ample metallurgical coal resources in NSW, particularly in the Illawarra region.

Underground mining will cause unacceptable impacts, including permanent subsidence of an area of native vegetation including rivers, creeks, and permanent loss of about 15 endangered upland swamps. The affected streams contribute to Sydney’s drinking water supply, and mining will result in permanent surface water losses of millions of litres a day. The proposal will also impact 20ha of native vegetation, with associated impacts to habitat, fauna and geological features. This is in addition to climate and other environmental impacts. Additionally, the risk of damage to 6 Aboriginal sites should be considered unacceptable.
Bronwen Evans
DARLINGHURST , New South Wales
The proposed mining expansion is under the water catchment area of Sydney and Wollongong. Climate change affects fresh water availability and any action that puts this at further risk is unacceptable. Longwall mining causes subsidence and loss of surface water. The current mine already loses 10 million litres of water daily, to increase this is preposterous.
Transitioning to renewable energy is already underway in the steel industry so extending a coal mine for this purpose is not inline with resolving the causes of climate change. This belies the rationale of classifying this project as State Significant Infrastructure.
The environmental damage will be far reaching. The Woronora Plateau is home to important upland swamps. These capture, hold and filter water. They are already classified as Endangered Ecological Communities. The proposed mine expansion is directly under15 of the 22 swamps of this connected water system. If they dry out their carbon capture stops and, apart from the death of the reliant ecosystem, they become fire hazards.
Coal wash and other waste material have to be trucked through the Catchment area with inherent risks. Then there is the problem of pollutants, including heavy metals, leaching into the water system.
The now Endangered NSW koala population has numbers in the area. The understanding of their population and use of the area is still not well enough documented and so plans for their protection cannot yet be adequate. This is only being noted for this iconic species, but all animals make up a web of life. To change the environment will impact on all the species there.
In the current understanding of how to keep this world a liveable one for us and all of nature, decisions need to be made towards transitioning away from fossil fuels to renewable green energy.
Kaye Osborn
CORRIMAL , New South Wales
Please see my objection attached.
Name Withheld
North Wollongong , New South Wales
20 more years of coal mining in our water catchment? It's already been rejected by the Gov's Independent Planning Commission. WaterNSW is against it too. This is not a smart, sustainable or economically viable option and must be opposed.
Bekk Klevjer
MOUNT KEMBLA , New South Wales
I oppose this project for a number of reasons:
* I don't want to risk our drinking water (it is too important)
*I care about the environmental impact of this decision and the impact it will have on culturally significant Aboriginal sites (Grandfather Mountain)
*I don't want the noise and traffic pollution that this decision/project will create for the communities up here. Already the trains go up and down the mountain, even on the weekend!
*I don't think this project will actually provide that many jobs or create the sustainable infrastructure for the future that I hope to see the Illawarra investing in.
Name Withheld
THIRROUL , New South Wales
Cleaner means of coexisting are possible. This expansion seems like an easy way out of solving a bigger issue.
Name Withheld
Dear Minister of Planning,

I sincerely hope you’ll reject this project for the Dendrobium mine extension. Coal is not a sustainable and viable solution to maintain the region economic growth and the well being of people living in the Illawarra region / New South Wales state. Approving this project will only provide a short term solution that will only benefits to South32 and political party claiming that this will help the region to grow economically, and will deny all the evidence (from everywhere else in the world) that coal is not a sustainable way to generate energy. There are other / better ways of generating power our city need as demonstrated by Australian state such as Tasmania. Why are we still willing to destroy our environment? Why are we still willing to jeopardise the future of our planet and our children?

I implore you to look at the long term effect of this project and the impact that it could have on our environment (e.g. contributing factor to climate change with more drought / bush fire and extreme weather as seen is the last couple of years in Australia).

Sutherland Greens
SUTHERLAND , New South Wales
Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission on the Dendrobium Mine Extension Project. Sutherland Greens opposes this project because of the risks it poses to the economic and social future of the Illawarra, water management, biodiversity, cultural heritage and greenhouse gas emissions.
Like other Greens parties around the world Sutherland Greens is founded upon commitment to four pillars: peace and non violence, ecological sustainability, grassroots participatory democracy and social justice. After consideration of the supporting documents prepared by the proponent, community groups and other organisations we believe the expansion of this mine is not consistent with three of these four pillars.
Ecological sustainability:
There is no measure by which this proposal is ecologically sustainable. The applicant’s own submissions do not pretend there will not be permanent impacts to upland swamps, to surface water or groundwater, or continuing pollution from wastewater and from coalwash. Rather they propose a range of dubious offsets and argue that the economic benefits of the project outweigh the environmental costs.
The Greens believe in ecological sustainability - not treating our precious resources (not just coal, but water and biodiversity too) like a giant business in liquidation where 'everything must go!'. The proposal puts the short-term self-interest of the applicant against the long-term interest of the community.

Social Justice:
When this project was declared State Significant Infrastructure David Shoebridge (then Greens NSW Energy spokesperson) described the decision as a 'double attack on future jobs and the environment':
"What the Illawarra needs right now is a surge of public and private investment in renewable energy and green steel, not another coal mine. The Greens are committed to building the Illawarra's growth industries which is why we have supported renewable energy zones and obtained $50 million of public investment in green hydrogen. This is where jobs growth will come from, not from another 20th century coal mine. We know there are years of secure coking coal supply for Bluescope without the Dendrobium extension so this makes no economic or environmental sense"
Sutherland Greens agree with David's assessment. This extension is selling workers short and kicking the can down the road in doubling down on a limited number of jobs in a declining industry instead of focussing on a just transition for workers. The economic case for the project underestimates the economic cost of the damage caused by this project in greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss and loss of water security. 'South32 is a global mining and metals company' (South32 2021 Corporate Governance Statement) whose interest is in returning a profit to shareholders in Australia, London and South Africa, not in providing sustainable jobs for the Illawarra. The NSW government - particularly The Nationals - have shown that their interests are in supporting their mates, donors and ex-parliamentarians in the mining industry more than supporting the regions. This project will only entrench inequality in extracting wealth for investors from a public resource and do nothing to alleviate poverty and extend opportunity to all members of society, whilst leaving a legacy extending long past the working life of the mine.

Grassroots Participatory Democracy:
Our Sutherland Greens members care about this project, and we are not alone. We believe there is strong community feeling about this project and it is not being adequately heard in the current process. In response to the previous proposal there were hundreds of submissions. Notable amongst these were:
Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council which stated their opposition to long wall mining across the entire escarpment and water catchment areas because of 'the cultural, environmental and economic inheritance that the community will be responsible for following the completion of mining the finite coal resource present in this area'
Wollondilly Shire council which expressed opposition to any expansion of mining in the special areas and requested more public hearings
Wingecarribee Shire Council which has a policy of opposition to longwall mining within the Shire because of concern over the potential impacts on groundwater, water catchments, agricultural land and tourism.
Protect Our Water Alliance which has organised regular meetings for several years and brought to light a range of technical reviews which show the project should not proceed.
This is, we think, a sample of the widespread community concern about this proposal. This aligns with our anecdotal experience on stalls around the Sutherland Shire, where the overwhelming response to the proposal has been disapproval and dismay.
We acknowledge that there were also hundreds of submissions in support of the project.
However, we think the NSW government is not interested in hearing the voice of the community on this issue. It is instructive to compare with the approval of the Metropolitan mine expansion in 2020. There, a 10,700 signature petition organised by the Sutherland Shire Environment Centre forced the proposal to be debated in state parliament. First, the parliament delayed the debate until after the mine had already been approved. Then, when the debate was held, Labor, Liberal and the Nationals joined to speak in favour of the project and to prevent any member from speaking in opposition. At the time, Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann said "You have to wonder what the other parties were so worried about that they couldn't let the Greens speak on behalf of the community on this important issue. The community worked hard to have this issue debated in the parliament and they should have been able to hear from all sides of the debate. They have every right to be disappointed in their local elected representatives". We think the current process for this proposal also suffers from a lack of accountability to the public who will be dealing with the impact of this proposal for decades to come.

Sutherland Greens believe it is important for us to comment on this proposal in our own right, as well as standing in solidarity with the Illawarra Greens and community groups. Although this proposal is not within our local group area it has a very real impact on us, particularly through the loss of water from the Avon and Cordeaux dams which act as an additional water supply to Sydney, and through the climate change impacts from the predicted 88 million tonnes C02-e of greenhouse gas emissions.

The Minister should reject this proposal and any application for mining in this sensitive environmental and cultural area.

Yours faithfully,
Angus Dyson (Secretary) on behalf of
Sutherland Greens
Daniel Deere
PYMBLE , New South Wales
My family originates in South Wales in the UK, and has a longstanding and proud coal mining tradition. I have seen the impacts of transitioning away from coal mining in that context. Therefore, I fully support statewide, and national, unfettered efforts to ensure a just and fair transition for our coal workers and associated industries to move towards the future. This is a major challenge and one that we all have to face. At best, extending mines will delay that inevitable challenge. At worst, that delay will mean that we miss out on opportunities for those that transition earlier rather than later. Let us make that transition to do our fair share of protecting our global environment, and in particular without causing further damage to our most precious local environments by further coal mining in our drinking water catchments.

Coal is still required for coming decades, and longer if emissions can be reasonably offset. But its sourcing should be from areas that have the minimal ecological and water quality value. That rules out the drinking water catchments of Sydney and the Illawarra. These Special Areas are among the most valuable ecosystems globally - both in terms of their environmental value, and their water quality and quantity benefits. Protecting these water sources 'to the maximum degree practicable' (as advocated in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines) helps reduce water treatment costs, improve water yields, improve water quality and safety, and delay and reduce the need for costly upgraded water supply and treatment infrastructure. This benefits all those in the Sydney and Illawarra regions and reduces all of our water supply costs. Furthermore, the ecosystem values (such as carbon sequestration, threatened species protection, and ecosystem services) are invaluable and everlasting. These so-called 'Special Areas' really are very special, and represent one of the few areas of minimally impacted native temperate Eucalypt forest in Australia, and given our unique ecosystem, globally.

Contrasting the above points - short term very localised gains from coal mining within the water catchments that contribute to global negative environmental impacts, compared to the benefits that will last in perpetuity from protecting those same catchments, it seems very hard to see that any more mining or other development in the water catchment Special Areas can be logically and fairly permitted.

I have a particularly detailed knowledge of the Special Areas and of the benefits that they provide. I am a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) consultant based in Sydney with 25 years of professional experience in the sector. Previously I was the Water Quality Manager for South East Water in Melbourne, where most of our water was sourced from the protected water catchments of the Upper Yarra and Thomson catchments. The benefits of such well-protected catchments were myriad - both in terms of tangible benefits, and public perception and trust. More recently I was the Principal Scientist and Manager Science and Research for Sydney Catchment Authority. For eight years I was the Program Group Leader for the Catchments, Source Waters and Monitoring Research Program, and was the Program Leader of the Catchments Research Program, for the Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment. Since that time, as an independent consultant, I specialise in assessing risks in water sources, with a view to understanding how to mitigate risks to public health (e.g. through water treatment and/or enhanced source protection). I work in this area across Australia as well as into New Zealand, much of the Western Pacific and South Asia. Invariably, full drinking water catchment protection is highly valued where it is in place. Note that this includes the catchments of much of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin and many regional areas, such as parts of north Queensland.

As a private citizen I consider that we need to draw a line and prevent further degradation of what little is left of our best-protected natural environments. Given the massive tangible value of a protected drinking water catchment, what better places to fully protect than just such areas? If we only protect one category of natural systems, our drinking water catchments would seem to be the most important, since we can derive massive societal benefit from that protection.

As a professional in the water and environment sector, I am aware of the practical challenges of mitigating risk in practice, no matter how well designed and well-intentioned the risk management plan may be. More importantly, even if through innocent mistake, once damage is done, it often cannot be reversed. I am also aware of how planning reviews see development applications. Saying 'yes' to one development makes it much harder to say 'no' to others. The precedent set by permitting the mine extension into the Special Areas will be quite understandably cited by parties seeking all manner of other developments and activities that threaten the Sydney and Illawarra's water catchments. I have been involved in a professional capacity in multiple planning tribunals and these precedents are used by developers to promote intensification of development, or removal of existing protections. Clearly something as self-evidently environmentally significant as a large coal mine, in an environment so sensitive as the Special Areas, sets a strong precedent. Other developments will be tending to argue that their impacts are lesser and/or environments less important. Therefore, I consider the line needs to be drawn on further development in these Special Areas.

I accept that there may need to be justifiable compensatory and alternative opportunities provided for the communities, investors and businesses, to offset opportunity costs of this application being rejected. That cost can be borne by the Sydney and Illawarra community at large since we all benefit from protecting these areas. I cannot speak on their behalf but personally I consider that a cost I'm happy to contribute my fair share to and I suspect most Sydney and Illawarra residents feel the same.

Finally, I thank you for providing the opportunity to share my perspectives and for considering my feedback. I realise that these decisions are very challenging, nuanced and complex, and I wish you all the best in making a final determination.

Dr Daniel Alun Deere
14 June 2022
Name Withheld
MOUNT KEMBLA , New South Wales
I have lived in Mount Kembla for nearly 40 years, arriving here when the mine was called Nebo. No trucks used Cordeaux Rd then as all coal and heavy machinery went on the train line. The only noises were low rumbles of machinery in operation and the 7 am shift change siren. Once the coal loader was no longer operating the air quality and resultant staining of outdoor surfaces did improve. Since becoming Dendrobium the traffic noise has increased. I am often woken at around 4.30 to 5am by the noise of vehicles, especially 4WD utes with noisy tyres, at the shift change. Large trucks frequently grind up the hills, the level of noise prohibiting any conversation. From 9.30 a.m. the trucks that have been lined up at the bottom of Bushell's Hill (often for some considerable time) begin their way up the hill, often nose to tail. The noise can be heard for some time before a truck actually passes. This does not include the trucks moving wide loads and specialist equipment which travel very slowly (for obvious reasons) through the village. Already my quality of life in the village has been increasingly negatively impacted by the changes in how the mine operates. This will only get worse with the expansion of the mine.

I object to the submission for these reasons: noise, increased traffic, restricted access of first nations people to significant sites and the threat of damage to these, the adverse effect on the water catchment.

1. Noise and increased traffic - pg 24, Table 3 suggests there will be traffic movement 24 hours a day with additional mobile equipment, drill rigs, mobile cranes, excavators, loaders and delivery trucks. The bus supplied for the workers is usually less than half full. This was a provision that was agreed to in the original Dendrobium plan. It was acknowledged then that traffic had to be kept to a minimum in the village for the welfare of the residents. Fifty additional workers to the current 650 and 100 construction phase workers and contractors will make the level of noise and traffic movements intolerable. If a 100 vehicle car park is constructed then clearly 100 vehicles can, and no doubt will, be accommodated. No worker is going to use a company bus with the inconvenience of parking at Unanderra when there is parking available at the site. I am also extremely concerned at the suggestion that coal wash will be transported by existing roadways (page 10, 1.5). This can only increase traffic noise, air pollution from dust and damage to the road surfaces.
2. Aboriginal sites- I object to the real threat of continuing damage to aboriginal sites in Areas 5 and 6 and to the restricted access of indigenous people to them.
3. Adverse effects on the water catchment. If the past few years has taught us anything it is that water is a precious commodity. We need clean water for our communities. We need access to water for our daily lives and for the extremes of drought and bushfires. Our wildlife need it and our bush needs it. Damage has been done to the catchment rivers and creeks. The Water Board made this abundantly clear in its previous submissions. The modifications to the extension do not mitigate these issues. It would be easy to think with the recent torrential and seemingly incessant rain that the risk of water shortages has gone but this is short sighted.

Finally, I believe it is time to be looking to other ways of providing the goods we all want such as green steel, alternative materials and energy sources. This is where the focus should be, not on persisting with industries with a limited lifespan and which will negatively impact on our environment, culture, and lifestyles. Thank you.


Project Details

Application Number
Assessment Type
State Significant Infrastructure
Development Type
Coal Mining
Local Government Areas
Wollongong City, Wingecarribee Shire, Wollondilly Shire

Contact Planner

Gabrielle Allan