There are many mines in NSW, with scores more under consideration by the NSW Government.
Profiles of mined areas in NSW
Longwall and Open Cut Mining – a short explanation
Longwall mining is a form of underground coal mining which removes the coal, and simply allows the overlying material to collapse into the vacated space.
This can cause:
• the land above to subside
• rock shelves to crack
• swamps, water courses and aquifers to drain away.
It can also cause:
• methane and other gases to be released
• minerals and chemicals to be released into swamps, water courses and aquifers.
(For a more detailed description please go to our Longwall Mining webpage.)
Open Cut Mining is the removal of the surface soil or overburden from a huge area, down to the depth of the mineral deposit. This can be from a shallow depth of several metres up to 1000 metres deep. It forms a huge hole in the ground. Once exposed the mineral deposit is then mined by usually blasting and or digging.
It can cause the release of minerals, salts and other chemicals into –
• the surrounding ground waters or aquifers.
• the surrounding creeks and rivers.
It also releases dust into the air carrying these minerals, salts and chemicals for vast distances. The piles of overburden are equally at risk of contaminating the waters and areas around them in wet times, as the rain water washes through the piles and runs away.
Reports and submissions
Rivers SOS has made a number of submissions regarding mining in NSW. Other groups have also produced useful reports into the matter. Submissions about particular projects can be found on the pages that profile specific areas or river systems, linked above.
NSW Planning System Review submission – 143kB PDF (July 2013)
NSW Coal and Gas Strategy – 100KB PDF
Sydney Catchment Authority Draft Healthy Catchment Strategy – 135KB PDF (March 2010)
2020 Summit submission – 37KB PDF (April 2008)
Rivers SOS Submission to the Southern Coalfield Inquiry – 277KB PDF (July 2007)
Freedom of Information (FOI) documents released reveal that the NSW Government was informed by the Sydney Catchment Authority of an unfolding environmental disaster in the Woronora Dam catchment well before it approved further underground coal mining in the same area. (27th June 2007)
Dr. Stout’s report – 632KB PDF
A 32 page report entitled “Do headwater streams recover from longwall mining impacts in northern West Virginia?”
Prepared by Dr. Ben Stout in 2004 for the West Virginia Water Research Institute.