Wollongong, New South Wales — Residents are this morning blockading at the Russell Vale Colliery, as the beleaguered mine’s expansion proposal heads to the Independent Planning Commission later today. Protect Our Water Alliance is joining local residents and Knitting Nannas to demonstrate in-person opposition to the mine, before the virtual IPC proceedings take place today and tomorrow. The coal mine is seeking a five-year extension of operations, to mine further beneath the Special Areas of the Greater Sydney Water Catchment.
Protect Our Water Alliance (POWA) spokesperson Rada Germanos said “The IPC is online due to COVID restrictions, but we are stepping out and stepping up in our opposition to this terrible project. It is crucial that we as a community do not let this project go ahead.”
If Wollongong Coal’s proposed expansion at the Russell Vale Mine goes ahead, it will be one of the top 100 emitters of Scope 1 greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. Furthermore, the mining expansion will drain both surface and ground water from the Cataract Reservoir catchment, part of the catchment’s Special Areas that forbid public access because of their sensitivity and strategic importance. In recent weeks a spotlight has also been shone on extensive damage to Aboriginal cultural sites in the Escarpment from coal mining.
“Our communities won’t see any benefits of this project, only a wrecked water catchment and warmed climate for generations into the future. There is also mounting evidence that the Aboriginal cultural heritage of the area is being trashed, with heartbreaking images of extensive and irreparable damage to sites such as Whale Cave from previous mining. It’s clear from these mining approval processes that there is a complete disregard for Aboriginal cultural heritage, and there will be more such important sites forever damaged should this mine’s expansion go ahead”
“POWA will continue to oppose the Russell Vale mine expansion, and all mining in our water catchment. Wollongong Coal cannot continue to rip up coal and ship it out overseas to its parent company. We are taking a stand and drawing a line in the sand. Mining is not compatible with preservation, and it is not compatible with a drinking water catchment. We demand an immediate and permanent ban on mining underneath our water catchment.”
POWA is a grassroots community group committed to defending the water security of our region. For more details about this campaign visit – www.protectourwateralliance.org
The Independent Planning Commission proceedings can be publicly viewed via www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/livestream
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