Wollongong, New South Wales — Confronting images of recent environmental destruction by South32’s Dendrobium Mine have come to light, showing cracked streams and rockfalls within the Special Areas of the Greater Sydney Water Catchment. The mining multinational published its Longwall 17 End of Panel Report (1) earlier this year, documenting the immediate environmental impacts of this particular area of mining in Area 3b.
Detailed in this report are impacts on streams, creeks, upland swamps, access roads, water losses, as well as documented Aboriginal heritage sites. The report documents 40 identified new surface impacts, 75% of which were on “natural features”.
South32 recently withdrew its application for a 20 year extension to the Dendrobium Mine, but will continue to conduct longwall mining within the water catchment for several more years.
Protect Our Water Alliance (POWA) spokesperson Dr Rada Germanos said “This report provides us with real-time evidence of the horrific damage that South32 is causing within our water catchment. It is incredible to read such a long document that lists cracked stream after cracked stream, dry swamp after dry swamp, and realise that all of this destruction has been approved by the Department of Planning.”
“Furthermore, only two of the five documented Aboriginal heritage sites were visited in the post-mining survey. First Nations people have said time and time again that longwall mining affects the cultural integrity of the landscape, and here we see an incredibly poor effort by South32 to even bother to acknowledge their destruction of these places.”
“While water drinkers in Sydney and the Illawarra are relieved that the expansion of the Dendrobium Mine will not go ahead, we remain deeply concerned that damage to our water catchment continues every day until the mining ceases.“
“This consent to destroy has been provided by successive NSW Governments. It is simply not good enough to allow multinational companies to trash these ecosystems, and document their destruction in these dry, detached reports. As the 2023 State Election draws closer, we ask, do the Labor or Liberal parties care enough about clean drinking water for the 5 million people of Greater Sydney to overhaul our planning laws, and stop this destruction by stopping mining in our water catchment?”